The Trump Campaign is accusing the Commission on Presidential Debates of foul play once again after moderator Kristen Welker announced the topics for the third and final presidential debate.
Kristen Welker, co-anchor of NBC’s ‘Weekend Today’ show, announced last Friday that the third debate would cover Fighting COVID-19, American Families, Race in America, Climate Change, National Security, and Leadership. The following Monday, Trump Campaign Manager Bill Stepien wrote a scathing letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates, or to the “Biden Debate Commission,” as he referred to them on Twitter.
The letter proclaimed “great concern over the announced topics,” alleging that both campaigns had acknowledged that the final debate would be focused on foreign policy, following the tradition of a “Foreign Policy Debate” capstone.
“As is the long-standing custom, and as had been promised by the Commission on Presidential Debates,” Bill Stepien wrote, “we had expected that foreign policy would be the central focus of the October 22 debate.”
The Biden Campaign denied that any such arrangement had been made, pointing out instead that the Commission had explicitly left the selection of debate topics up to the moderators. Biden’s national press secretary, TJ Ducklo, further suggested that the Trump Campaign is lying in an attempt to avoid answering questions on the President’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, reported The Hill.
“The campaigns and the Commission agreed months ago that the debate moderator would choose the topics,” said TJ Ducklo. “The Trump campaign is lying about that now because Donald Trump is afraid to face more questions about his disastrous COVID response. As usual, the president is more concerned with the rules of a debate than he is getting a nation in crisis the help it needs.”
The Commission on Presidential Debates has also announced that they will be muting the opposing candidate’s microphone during the initial two minutes allotted for each candidate to answer the moderator’s questions, after which the candidates are granted 15 minutes to engage with one another normally, reports The New York Times.
Asked late Monday about what he thought of the current debate developments, President Trump said, “I just think it is very unfair.” He added, “It is very unfair that again we have an anchor who is totally biased.”
The Commission on Presidential Debates maintains that the changes were made in an effort to better insure a conversation around policy occurs at the debates. “We are comfortable that these actions strike the right balance and that they are in the interest of the American people, for whom these debates are held,” said the commission.
The final debate is scheduled for Thursday, October 22nd at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.