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Virginia Gov Glenn Youngkin calls out Biden for refusal of VSU presidential debate

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin called out President Biden for refusing to participate in a debate originally scheduled by the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) for Oct. 1 at Virginia State University (VSU), which would have been the first historically Black college or university (HBCU) to host a presidential debate.

“The Biden campaign is refusing to participate in a historic general election presidential debate at [VSU], a great university and HBCU,” the Republican governor wrote in a post on X. “Joe Biden is turning his back on students, Virginians and the nation because he can’t defend his failing policies. Huge snub to VSU and the citizens of the Commonwealth.”

Youngkin’s comments come a day after Biden and former President Donald Trump agreed to two debates — one on June 27 hosted by CNN, and a second on Sept. 10 hosted by ABC.

The debates came to fruition after Trump gave Biden an open invitation to debate anytime, anywhere, and Biden stepped up to the challenge, telling Trump to “make my day,” in a heavily edited video on social media.

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But alongside Biden’s announcement to take part in the debates came a letter from his campaign to the CPD, which revealed a few critical limits that Biden’s team was placing on any debate between him and Trump.

The list included restrictions like not having an audience, and conducting the debate in a TV studio with just the candidates and the moderator.

The proposal was initially outlined by the Biden-Harris campaign in a letter to the CPD on Wednesday morning. It abandoned the decades-old tradition of three fall meetings organized by the commission. Afterward, Trump told Fox News Digital that he’d accept the timeline proposed by the incumbent Democrat.

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Biden tugs at collar

President Biden won’t be debating former President Trump at a previously scheduled event at Virginia State University by the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates. (Getty Images)

Trump told Fox News Digital on Wednesday, “it is time for a debate to take place — even if it has to be held through the offices of the Commission on Presidential Debates, which are totally controlled by Democrats and who, as people remember, got caught cheating with me with debate sound levels.”

In November, the CPD set the sites and dates for three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate during the 2024 general election.

The presidential debates were to take place Sept. 16 at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas; Oct. 1 at Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia; and Oct. 9 at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. The vice presidential debate was set for Sept. 25 at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania.

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Glenn Youngkin

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin delivers the VCU commencement address in Richmond, Va., on Sunday. (Parker Michels-Boyce for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

After learning the presidential debates would not take place at VSU, but instead at CNN and ABC, VSU released a statement.

“Virginia State University is disappointed to hear media reports suggesting that the U.S. Presidential candidates may not participate in the scheduled October 1, 2024, debate at VSU,” the statement read. “A presidential debate at VSU is a huge win, not only for our students and campus community but for the greater community in general. As the first Historically Black College or University (HBCU) ever selected to host a general election U.S. Presidential debate, VSU recognizes the event’s significance and welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the democratic process.

“We will continue to work closely with the Commission on Presidential Debates and other stakeholders as we assess this situation,” the school added.

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The Biden and Trump campaigns did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.

Fox News Digital’s Anders Hagstrom, Brooke Singman and Danielle Wallace contributed to this report.


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