In a two-page letter to the commission, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien stopped short of threatening to withdraw from Thursday’s debate but said the nonpartisan commission’s “pro-Biden antics have turned the entire debate season into a fiasco.”
“For the good of campaign integrity and for the benefit of the American people, we urge you to rethink and reissue a set of topics for the October 22 debate, with an emphasis on foreign policy,” Stepien wrote in the letter, which was dated Oct. 19 and posted on his Twitter account.
The campaign chief said the topic list would “insulate Biden from his own history,” referring to allegations related to the foreign business dealings of the former vice president’s son, Hunter. Stepien said the final debate was “always billed” as a foreign policy debate but that was never announced by the commission or Welker.
“The campaigns and the commission agreed months ago that the debate moderator would choose the topics,” Biden campaign spokesman TJ Ducklo said in a statement. “The Trump campaign is lying about that now because Donald Trump is afraid to face more questions about his disastrous COVID response.”
“It is completely unacceptable for anyone to wield such power, and a decision to proceed with that change amounts to turning further editorial control of the debate over to the Commission,” Stepien said.
in their first debate, Trump constantly interrupted Biden and moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News, who promptly lost all control of the debate and was mocked on social media for his performance.
Moderator Chris Wallace calls debate a 'terrible missed opportunity'
The commission said both campaigns “this week again reaffirmed their agreement to the two-minute, uninterrupted rule,” adding that the measures weren’t a change of the rules but were intended to make sure the existing rules were enforced.
“We realize, after discussions with both campaigns, that neither campaign may be totally satisfied with the measures announced today,” the commission said. “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.”
Stepien said in a statement the president had agreed to the conditions.
“President Trump is committed to debating Joe Biden regardless of last-minute rule changes from the biased commission in their latest attempt to provide advantage to their favored candidate,” Stepien said.