President Trump’s reelection campaign wants former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani to lead an effort demanding extra presidential debates, believing Trump will gain from them by shining a spotlight on presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
Three events are on the calendar so far: on Sept. 29 at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, Oct. 15 at the University of Michigan, and Oct. 22 at Belmont University in Nashville.
Both October debates coincide with Thursday night football games, which Trump officials believe could limit viewership, so Giuliani has been tasked with scheduling debates for any weekday night but Thursday to prevent overlapping with the NFL games.
Trump’s team wants to advise the moderator selection and is calling for the former vice president to weigh in on the matter. Giuliani and Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale were set to speak on Thursday with Frank Fahrenkopf, co-chairman of the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates, according to Politico. Giuliani’s position is unpaid.
Parscale warned the commission in December that Trump could boycott the debates if the chosen moderators were not deemed “fair.” Trump railed against the commission in a tweet that month, claiming it was “stacked with Trump Haters & Never Trumpers.”
Trump officials began shifting course as the former vice president moved closer to clinching the Democratic Party nomination.
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway pressed for extra presidential debates, calling in May for “more of them than usual” because of Biden’s time spent largely out of view.
“That’s great for Joe Biden, but there will be a campaign,” Conway told Fox News. “There will be debates, hopefully many of them, more of them than usual because we haven’t had a normal election season so far.”
During a visit to Pennsylvania earlier in the month, Trump charged that Biden was using the coronavirus pandemic to avoid having to go up against him in the debates.
“I know they want to get out of the debate,” Trump told the Washington Examiner’s Salena Zito. “They’re saying they won’t be able to debate because of COVID-19.”
In an interview with CNN last month, Biden said that his time “hidin'” at home was “working pretty well so far,” despite repeated jabs by Trump and his campaign.
In leaked remarks, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe agreed.
“People say all the time, ‘Oh, we got to get the vice president out of the basement.’ He’s fine in the basement,” McAuliffe said. “Two people see him a day: his two body people. That’s it. Let Trump keep doing what Trump’s doing.”
Author: Katherine Doyle
Source: Washington Examiner: Getting Biden out of the basement: Giuliani tasked by Trump with securing extra debates