Debate commission co-chair believes Trump campaign “got rolled” when it agreed to Biden campaign’s stipulations for debates
05/21/2024 // Arsenio Toledo // Views

One of the co-chairs of the main organization that produces debates for presidential and vice presidential elections in the United States believes former President Donald Trump "got rolled" by the campaign of President Joe Biden when he agreed to just two presidential debates.

Frank Fahrenkopf, co-founder and co-chairman of the Commission on Presidential Debates, was left stunned when the commission received a letter from the Biden campaign declaring that the president would not be participating in the debates. (Related: Trump challenges Biden to a DEBATE "anywhere, anytime, anyplace.")

The commission has scheduled three presidential debates to be held from Sept. 16 to Oct. 9, with one vice presidential debate on Sept. 25. Fahrenkopf warned that Biden bucking the trend and preventing the commission from producing its 34th set of presidential debates is upending decades of tradition.

Fahrenkopf believes Biden's decision to not go through the commission – and Trump agreeing to it – is a great loss for the United States.

"I say that because unfortunately, I am really worried for my grandkids and what kind of country we're going to have. So many traditions, so much respect for other people. Freedom to speak what your mind is without worrying whether someone is going to call you 'woke' online," said Fahrenkopf. "The people are afraid to take positions … Where we're going as a country, people don't respect each other."

Biden campaign's demands for presidential debates amount to "political malpractice"

One of Fahrenkopf's main concerns isn't just that the Biden and Trump campaigns have agreed to circumvent his commission, but also that the Trump campaign has agreed to the president's demands for the two debates.

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The debates will be held earlier than usual in the election cycle and will be organized by CNN and ABC, respectively. The CNN debate will be scheduled for June 27, will have no audience and will be moderated by CNN anchors Jake Tapper and Dana Bash.

Along with concerns of possible bias from the network and its anchors, Fahrenkopf is concerned having just these two networks "limits very much the number of people who are going to see it."

"I don't know whether they are going to be on all the platforms that we use," he warned.

In the Biden campaign's letter to Fahrenkopf's commission, one of its demands was to limit the number of major news outlets that can host a presidential debate to any media outlet "that hosted a Republican primary debate in 2016 which Donald Trump participated in, and a Democratic primary debate in 2020 in which President Biden participated in."

The rule limits the networks that can host a debate to CNNABCCBS and Telemundo. There will be no audience for both of the debates, with the Biden campaign criticizing Fahrenkopf's commission for making the debates "huge spectacles with large audiences."

The Biden campaign has also demanded that the two debates must be one versus one, with no third party candidates allowed. This demand is critical, because it effectively excludes the only other candidate with a chance at the White House – independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Finally, the Biden campaign's last stipulation for the two debates is to limit the time each candidate has to speak and to mute their mics immediately after. The campaign blasted Fahrenkopf's commission for allowing extensive crosstalk and interruptions during the previous times Biden and Trump debates onstage, claiming that those incidents were "entirely inconsistent with the orderly and informative process the voters deserved."

Watch this clip from Fox News discussing some of the Biden campaign's demands for the two presidential debates, including no audiences and muted mics.

This video is from the NewsClips channel on

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