Trump May Skip Some G.O.P. Debates, but Advisers See a Biden Face-Off as Key

The strong desire of Mr. Trump’s advisers to see him debate Mr. Biden in the event of a rematch could lead to a clash with the Republican National Committee.

On July 17, the Republican Party’s head visited Trump’s private club to pitch him for the first sanctioned presidential debate. Ronna McDaniel argued skipping the debate would give Biden an excuse to avoid debating Trump in 2024. Trump disregarded the warning and suggested he would not face his primary rivals onstage. The Republican National Committee (NRC) is attempting to find an alternative to the Commission on Presidential Debates (C.P.D.) for hosting general election matchups.

The RNC has been pushing the C.P.D. for changes to how debates are held, and has actively looked for a non-C.P.D. debate host. The RNC has been seeking a non-C.P.D. debate host since 2021, but the decision to participate is ultimately up to the nominee, and the R.N.C. cannot force a debate against the nominee. The party is attempting to achieve as many debates as possible between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, with the goal of achieving as many debates as possible.

In modern history, no incumbent president has skipped general election debates, except for Jimmy Carter. The Center for Public Debate (C.P.D.) has not discussed discussions with any of the campaigns, and the group is expected to reveal the locations, dates, and criteria for the general election debates in October.

The commission’s monopoly on general election debates has been a source of frustration for nominees from both parties, particularly Republicans. In 2020, Trump’s team was enraged that then-Fox News host Chris Wallace served as the moderator for the first C.P.D. debate. The second debate was virtual, and Trump’s team was apoplectic when the C.P.D. announced the second debate would be virtual.

The Biden team felt a lot of people were put at risk at the time, and it was likely that the president’s campaign would press for its own specific rules. The sense that Trump could open himself up to the possibility of Biden choosing not to debate because Trump chose to skip at least one primary face-off has been underscored in recent days by Republicans with rival campaigns.

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