Joe Biden, left, and Donald Trump
WASHINGTON – The Commission on Presidential Debates on Monday announced the dates and locations of three presidential debates for the 2024 general election.
The first debate is scheduled for September 16 at Texas State University in San Marcos, followed by October 1 at Virginia State University in Petersburg and October 9 at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.
The only vice presidential debate will take place at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, on September 25.
“The US general election debates, seen live around the world, are a model for many other countries: the opportunity to hear and see the leading candidates address serious issues in a fair and neutral environment,” said the commission co-chairs Frank Fahrenkopf and Antonia Hernández. in a statement accompanying the announcement. “This tradition has remained uninterrupted since 1976.”
Biden’s campaign declined to comment on the announcement.
Kate Bedingfield, former White House communications director and Biden’s 2020 deputy campaign manager, discussed the 2024 campaign’s noncommittal position, saying it’s “a good strategic decision to know who your opponent will be before you commit to debating it.”
“We know that the Republican National Committee has already withdrawn from general election debates, and of course Trump is not currently debating in the primary,” he told NBC News. “The Biden campaign doesn’t need to lock itself into a process yet when there are so many unknowns, and the only thing we do know is that his potential opponent lies abandoned on a debate stage. They can wait and make a strategic decision when it comes more into focus. “
Another source familiar with the Biden team’s thinking pointed to issues with the 2020 debates that the campaign would likely want to discuss with the commission heading into 2024, including whether and how moderators would fact-check candidates, as well as assurances the commission may rule that there is no repeat of the first debate of 2020, in which strict Covid safety rules did not appear to be fully supported.
When asked for comment on the commission’s announcement, Steven Cheung, a spokesman for former President Donald Trump’s campaign, said: “President Trump already addressed this in multiple interviews last year.”
Trump, who leads his opponents in polls for the Republican nomination, has opted to skip all primary debates so far this election cycle. He has criticized the Commission on Presidential Debates, claiming that it is “very biased” and “full of Trump haters and never Trumpers.”
The commission is a nonpartisan group that hosts debates to “provide the public with the opportunity to refine their views, in a focused debate format, on those candidates from whom the next president and vice president will be selected,” according to its website. .
Last year, the Republican National Committee voted to require that Republican presidential candidates not participate in debates organized by the commission. In a statement about the decision last year, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel called the commission “biased,” arguing that it “has refused to implement simple, common-sense reforms to help ensure fair debates, including organizing debates before voting begins and selecting moderators who have never worked before.” for the candidates on the debate stage.”
The RNC did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.
To participate in a debate organized by the commission, candidates must be constitutionally eligible to serve as president, qualify to have their names appear on enough state ballots to have a chance of winning the Electoral College, and have at least 15% of the electorate supporting to your candidate. electoral campaigns, as measured by polling organizations selected by the commission.
The commission said it would announce additional details about the debates, including the format and moderators, next year.