Utah’s presidential debate officially canceled after Biden, Trump opt for other plans

Jun 26, 2024, 5:00 AM | Updated: Jul 3, 2024, 8:25 am

People walk through the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City on March 13. The Commission on ...

People walk through the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City on March 13. The Commission on Presidential Debates said debates set for Utah and three other states had been officially canceled after Biden and Trump opted to take part in debates hosted by TV news networks instead. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — The proposed presidential debate at the University of Utah in October between President Joe Biden and Donald Trump — thrown into doubt last month — has officially been canceled.

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The Commission on Presidential Debates conveyed the news in a statement on Monday, saying the University of Utah and three other U.S. universities had been released from their contracts to host presidential or vice presidential debates in September and October. On May 15, Biden announced he wouldn’t take part in the commission debates, opting instead to take part in a pair of debates with Trump hosted by television news networks, the first planned for Thursday on CNN.

Utah 2024 primary election results

“We are grateful to the sites and we are sorry to come to this decision. We are dismayed that students of the four campuses will not have the opportunity to participate in these historic voter education forums,” Antonia Hernández and Frank Fahrenkopf, co-chairs of the commission said in a statement. They cited the May 15 Biden announcement.

The University of Utah relayed the commission’s decision in a statement on Tuesday but offered no comment on the turn of events.

Aside from the University of Utah debate on Oct. 9, the commission had planned to conduct presidential debates at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas, on Sept. 16, and at Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia, on Oct. 1. It had also planned a vice presidential debate at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, on Sept. 25.

Biden, a Democrat, and Trump, a Republican, are both going for their second terms as president. Aside from Thursday’s CNN debate, they have agreed to a debate hosted by ABC News on Sept. 10, according to ABC.

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Utah’s presidential debate officially canceled after Biden, Trump opt for other plans