x
Breaking News
More () »

Spokane's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Spokane, Washington | KREM.com

Trump campaign urges commission 'recalibrate' final debate topics

The Trump campaign says the final debate was always billed as focusing on foreign policy, but the announced topics don't exclusively focus on that.

President Donald Trump's campaign is demanding a change to the topics of the final debate between Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Its concern is that none of the announced topics focuses on foreign policy.

"The topics announced by moderator Kristen Welker (Fighting COVID-19, American Families, Race in America, Climate Change, National Security and Leadership) are serious and worthy of discussion, but only a few of them even touch on foreign policy," Trump Campaign Manager Bill Stepien wrote in a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates.

Trump and Biden will take the stage together for 90 minutes in Nashville, three weeks after their first meeting in Cleveland. Stepien said the debate, which is the final one of the season, was "always billed" as being focused on foreign policy.

"We urge your to recalibrate the topics and return to subjects when had already been confirmed," Stepien wrote.

Stepien claimed Biden is "desperate" to avoid talking about his foreign policy record and Biden's son, Hunter, while talking up Trump's achievements including peace deals in the Middle East.

Biden Campaign spokesman T.J. Ducklo reportedly responded, claiming that the commission and campaigns had previously agreed that the debate moderators would decide the topics.

"The Trump campaign is lying about that now because Donald Trump is afraid to face more questions about his disastrous COVID response," Ducklo said, according to Politico.

RELATED: With Biden leading polls, debate could be chance for Trump to gain momentum

Stepien also incorrectly claimed that the commission changed the Oct. 15 debate in Miami -- the second scheduled debate -- to a virtual setting "well before President Trump's medical condition became apparent." Trump announced he was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Oct. 2. The commission announced the change to a virtual event on Oct. 8 because Trump had contracted the virus.

That second debate, which was supposed to be a town hall-style event with questions from voters, was canceled after Trump rejected holding the debate in a virtual format. Biden scheduled a town hall with ABC News for that night once Trump said he would not participate. Trump then scheduled his own town hall with NBC News which aired at the same time as Biden's.

Stepien also expressed displeasure at the possibility that the commission might choose to mute the candidates' microphones during the debate -- something the commission ultimately announced later in the day it would do. The first debate turned chaotic with frequent interruptions by the candidates — particularly Trump.

RELATED: Trump, Biden mics to be cut during initial answer to questions in debate Thursday

The Associated Press contributed to this report.