The Commission on Presidential Debates has announced they will deny the President’s appeal to stand with the established topics and, instead, go with the topics that have already been addressed in two previous events and chosen by a partisan moderator.
President Trump told reporters that he objects to the last-minute changes but said he would honor his commitment to the commission. According to Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, foreign policy was to be the focus of the third debate by agreement of both the campaigns.
“As is the long-standing custom, and as had been promised by the Commission on Presidential Debates, we had expected that foreign policy would be the central focus of the Oct. 22 debate. We urge you to recalibrate the topics and return to subjects which had already been confirmed,” Stepien wrote in a letter to the commission Monday.
The commission announced Friday that moderator Kristen Welker, an NBC News White House correspondent under fire for her partisan political connections, had selected fighting COVID-19, American families, race in America, climate change, national security, and leadership as the topics to be discussed.
“I will participate, but it’s very unfair that they changed the topics and it is very unfair that again we have an anchor who is totally biased,” the President said in a statement to reporters aboard Air Force One.
Presumably the Presidential Debate Commission and most of the rest of the media are working super hard to avoid a discussion of foreign policy in its "debates" because that is an area of huge advantage for Trump over Biden.
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) October 19, 2020
Stepien suggested the commission was attempting to run interference for Biden in the wake of last week’s bombshell report by the New York Post implicating the former-Vice President and his son, Hunter Biden – who sat on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma, in an influence-peddling scheme.
“It is completely irresponsible for the commission to alter the focus of this final debate just days before the event, solely to insulate Biden from his own history,” Stepien continued in the letter.
How can the Presidential Debate Commission (the leftwing front group) announce topics for Thursday and not include Hunter Biden’s corrupt dealings in China, Russia, Ukraine,etc. anything to protect Biden from his own record. Given the leftwing moderator this will be a spectacle.
— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) October 19, 2020
Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller said the President would most likely address Biden’s family business ties during Thursday’s debate.
On Monday, the commission also announced that both candidates would have their microphones muted at certain points during the debate.