The Commission on Presidential Debates on Thursday rejected President Trump’s request that it schedule a fourth presidential debate.
Trump attorney and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani requested the additional debate to accommodate people voting earlier than usual by mail due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Any voter who wishes to watch one or more debates before voting will be well aware of that opportunity,” the commission wrote in a denial letter first reported by Axios.
Trump said Wednesday he wants the debates moved so that they can happen before ballots are mailed to voters.
“The first debate should be at least before the first ballots go out and they have it a month later, almost a month later — it’s ridiculous,” Trump said in a “Fox & Friends” interview.
Trump allies see debates as a major opportunity for the president against Democrat Joe Biden — who Trump often says is in mental decline.
Trump suggested on Wednesday that Biden wants to avoid the forums altogether.
“I hear he wants to get out — but he has, in all fairness to him, he has not said that,” Trump said. “My people are telling me that they’re playing very cute. They’re trying to get out, there’s no question about that.”
The first debate is scheduled for Sept. 29 in Cleveland, Ohio, followed by an Oct. 15 debate in Miami, Florida, and an Oct. 22 debate in Nashville, Tennessee.
Trump said he believes the commission — a nonprofit formed in 1987 — is biased against him. “This is a Clinton-Obama-type commission and, you know, they call it a beautiful name, but I’m not happy with it,” he said on “Fox & Friends.”
Trump said in 2016 the commission “apologized to me for what they did, they were oscillating my mic during one debate. They’ve actually apologized, if you can believe it, I have it in writing.”