The Commission on Presidential Debates refuted President Trump’s complaint that the nonpartisan organization is enacting “pro-Biden antics” just days before his final presidential debate against Democratic rival Joe Biden.
In a scathing letter issued to the CPD on Monday, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien griped about the absence of foreign policy as one of the six topics selected for the final presidential debate, which were chosen by moderator Kristen Welker of NBC News. Welker announced earlier Monday that debate topics include: “Fighting COVID-19,” “American Families,” “Race in America,” “Climate Change,” “National Security,” and “Leadership.”
Stepien’s letter to the CPD was issued amid Trump waging attacks against Welker days before she is set to moderate the final presidential debate. On Tuesday morning, the President told “Fox and Friends” that Welker “cannot be neutral at all.” Trump told supporters in Prescott, Arizona the day before that Welker is a “radical Democrat” — echoing his attacks against the NBC White House correspondent on Saturday when he quote-tweeted his son, Donald Trump Jr., who linked to a New York Post article claiming that the White House correspondent has “deep Democratic ties.”
A spokesperson for Welker told TPM on Monday that Welker is not a registered Democrat and has been a “registered independent in D.C. since 2012, almost a decade.”
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the CPD appeared to hit back at Stepien’s letter that demanded the nonpartisan organization to “recalibrate the topics and return to subjects which had already been confirmed.” The CPD defended Welker and cited Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller’s remarks to Fox News earlier this month.
Prior to Trump pulling out of the second presidential debate that was originally scheduled Oct. 15, after the CPD announced that it would be virtual in light of the President’s COVID-19 diagnosis earlier this month, Miller said that he has a “very high opinion” of Welker and that she will “do an excellent job as the moderator for the third debate.”
Kristen Welker announced her topics for 10/22 on 10/16. We agree with Jason Miller, who said on Fox that Kristen is "a journalist who's very fair in her approach and I think that she'll be a very good choice for this third debate."
— CPD (@debates) October 20, 2020
Trump’s attacks against Welker follow his other recent complaints about previous debate moderators.
On Tuesday, Trump ripped Fox News’ Chris Wallace, who moderated the disastrous first presidential debate that the President hijacked, by calling him “terrible” and suggesting he had only been neutral “to himself.”
The President swiped at NBC “Today” show anchor Savannah Guthrie on Friday, who grilled the President as she moderated an NBC News town hall the night before, by telling attendees at an event in Fort Myers, Florida that he “had someone going totally crazy last night.”