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Presidential debate commission defends schedule after Trump campaign pushes for new dates

In World
May 02, 2024

The Commission on Presidential Debates is pushing back against criticism from the Trump campaign over its debate schedule.

The nonpartisan entity, which announced the dates and locations for three debates late last year, responded Wednesday to Trump campaign officials’ calling the timeline “unacceptable.”

“The CPD has only one mission: to sponsor and produce general election debates that inform and educate the public,” it said in a statement. “Our schedule is designed with that single mission in mind.”

The first debate is scheduled for Sept. 16 at Texas State University in San Marcos.

Trump’s campaign said in a statement Tuesday that the commission’s schedule does not begin “until after millions of Americans will have already cast their ballots.”

The overwhelming majority of states will not have started mailing out absentee ballots by the first debate. While a handful of states start mailing absentee ballots in early September, most begin sending them within a month and a half of the election, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Election Day this year falls on Nov. 5.

“As it always does, the CPD considered multiple factors in selecting debate dates in order to make them accessible by the American public,” the commission said. “These factors include religious and federal holidays, early voting, and the dates on which individual states close their ballots.”

“The CPD purposefully chose September 16 after a comprehensive study of early voting rules in every state,” it added, noting that the September debate will be the “earliest televised general election debate ever held.”

Trump’s co-campaign managers, Chris LaCivita and Susie Wiles, reacted to the commission’s response by reiterating their criticism.

They said Tuesday they are “committed to making this happen with or without the Presidential Debate Commission.”

The commission, launched in 1987, has sponsored all presidential debates for decades.

President Joe Biden said in an interview last week that he would be “happy to debate” Trump.

Trump, who skipped all of the 2024 GOP primary debates, later posted on social media about his willingness to debate, writing in all capital letters, “anywhere, anytime, anyplace.”

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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