WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Election Day is now less than three months away and the Trump campaign is now calling to have an earlier debate.
Tim Murtaugh, director of communication for the campaign, says that means the first meeting should come in early September.
“It’s just common sense,” he said. “It’s important for the people to see the two candidates side by side debating before people actually start voting. More than half of the votes will be cast well before Election Day.”
But the non-partisan Commission on Presidential Debates, which runs the events, doesn’t agree.
The commission says in 2016, less than 1% of voters cast their ballot before the first debate.
U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-MO, an early supporter of former Vice President Joe Biden, says the Trump campaign knows it’s trailing in the polls and is just desperate to attack.
“There’s no need to do anymore,” he said. “He wants enough debates so can be sufficiently nasty.”
Cleaver says Trump is also trying to delegitimize the election.
“I think he wants Americans thinking they can’t trust this system,” Cleaver said.
But the Trump campaign says they aren’t ready to give up.
“What that really does is have the effect of putting the ball back in Joe Biden’s court,” Murtaugh said. “He has decided that it’s in his best interest to stay hidden in his basement in Wilmington Delaware, alone and diminished.”
Murtaugh says the campaign will keep applying public pressure for an earlier showdown between the candidates.
Without a change, the first debate will happen on Sept. 29.