President Donald Trump’s campaign manager called Monday for more presidential debates, saying that they should begin earlier than planned.
During an interview with “Fox & Friends” Monday morning, Bill Stepien said that the current debate schedule, which is set to begin Sept. 29, will prevent voters in early-voting states from seeing the two candidates go head-to-head before casting their ballots.
“We want more debates, we want debates starting sooner,” Stepien, who took over as Trump’s campaign manager last month, said.
“First debate is scheduled for Sept. 29, by that time 16 states already will have voted. That’s a concern to me. I want to see President Trump on the debate stage against Joe Biden.”
The Commission on Presidential Debates currently has four scheduled debates: three between Trump and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, and one between Vice President Mike Pence and Biden’s undetermined running mate.
The Trump campaign has previously pushed for additional debates, believing that Trump will be able to capitalize on Biden’s proneness to gaffes and improve his standing in the polls, The Hill reported.
Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida, four of the most competitive states this election, are all set to begin mailing absentee ballots before the end of September. Biden has held a consistent lead over Trump in each, polls show.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, more voters are expected to vote by mail than ever before, meaning that millions of voters in swing states may cast their ballot before the first debate occurs.
Stepien also accused Democrats of attempting to limit the number of debates to avoid putting Biden on camera.
“We’re already seeing the liberal left, the liberal media trying to create trap doors for Joe Biden to escape his commitment and obligations to debate Donald Trump on a debate stage in front of the American people.”
Though some have encouraged Biden not to engage with Trump on stage, Biden has committed to three debates, with his campaign manager, Jen O’Malley Dillon, saying that he “looks forward to facing Donald Trump in a multi-debate series that the American people have come to expect from their leaders.”
“We hope that President Trump would not break that tradition or make excuses for a refusal to participate,” she said.