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Good morning, friends.

3 things to know

  1. Mike Pence, who served as Donald Trump’s vice president, won’t endorse his former boss. Pence announced his decision during a Fox News appearance Friday, in which he said he “cannot in good conscience” support Trump. Pence’s relationship with Trump frayed after Jan. 6, when Trump pressured Pence to act outside of his constitutional authority and help overturn the 2020 election. Read more here.
  2. U.S. voters have concerns about both Trump and Biden, but for different reasons, according to a new Deseret/HarrisX poll. Voters say their biggest concern about Biden is his mental acuity; about Trump, it’s his legal issues and divisiveness. Read more here.
  3. Trump failed to secure a bond in his New York civil fraud case, where a judge determined last month he owes over $450 million in penalties. According to a court filing written by Trump’s lawyers, they contacted as many as 30 insurance companies to back the bond, with no takers. Read more here.

The Big Idea

Will Biden and Trump debate?

Now that Biden and Trump have secured their respective parties’ nominations, a November rematch is all but guaranteed. Less predictable, though, is whether they will debate before then.

It is customary for the two major-party nominees to participate in a series of one-on-one debates preceding Election Day. These candidates’ histories make the possibility more complicated. In 2020, a pandemic-adjusted debate delved into chaos when Trump and Biden repeatedly yelled over each other. The second debate was canceled after Trump contracted COVID-19. And in the third debate, the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) installed “tools to maintain order,” like a mute button on the microphones to prevent interruptions.

In the aftermath of the 2020 election, the Republican National Committee announced that it would not participate in future debate commission-led debates — effectively precluding the Republican candidate’s participation in debates altogether. Trump skipped all four of the GOP primary debates, even as Nikki Haley and other candidates challenged him to participate.

As a Biden-Trump rematch came into focus, Trump has now taken the offensive. “It is important, for the Good of our Country, that Joe Biden and I Debate Issues that are so vital to America, and the American People,” Trump wrote on Truth Social hours after Haley dropped out of the race. “Therefore, I am calling for Debates, ANYTIME, ANYWHERE, ANYPLACE!”

Trump added that the debates could be hosted by the debate commission or the Democratic National Committee — a rebuttal of the RNC’s previous stance, and a clear challenge to Biden.

Three debate commission-led presidential debates are scheduled for 2024. The third, on Oct. 9, will be held at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

But the Biden campaign has remained noncommittal about participating in debates. After Trump challenged Biden on social media, a Biden campaign spokesperson told The Hill they’d discuss debates “at the appropriate time in this cycle.” And on Saturday, Biden told CNN, “I don’t know if he’s serious.”

The dismissal may be a strategic attempt to delegitimize Trump by delaying a face-to-face confrontation for as long as possible. But as voters are increasingly wary of Biden’s mental acuity, a debate against a confrontational Trump would put Biden’s ability on full display.

Biden’s advisers and supporters disagree on how best to address the issues. Some, like Scott Howell, the former Utah Senate minority leader, point to Biden’s recent State of the Union address as an example of his “remarkable mental acuity and stamina,” showing he is capable “to lead the nation forward with resilience and determination.” But voters are already concerned about Biden’s age, and his fence-sitting on debates could backfire.

Related
Poll: Voters say Biden is less mentally fit than Trump for the presidency, but have doubts about both

What I’m reading

Chances are, you’re unenthused by a Trump-Biden rematch. The editors at The Dispatch are, too. They’re unapologetic in their belief in political conservatism — individual liberty, financial responsibility, strength abroad — so they’re not keen on Biden’s handling of the economy or his refusal to pass the torch. But they view Trump as a threat to our democratic underpinnings and have vocally opposed his candidacy. Their analysis on the election won’t tell you who to vote for, but it is a thoughtful perspective on a choice most American’s don’t want: The American People Should Demand Better (The Dispatch)

In Arizona, shades of November: During a municipal meeting in Maricopa County last month, a pro-Trump group stormed in, commandeered the podium and forced out the county commissioners. “This is an act of insurrection,” one of the demonstrators yelled, declaring that the commissioners “are not our elected officials,” citing baseless claims of electoral fraud in 2020. Some Arizonans fear it was a “dress rehearsal” for objections to this fall’s presidential election, as Arizona is poised to be a swing state. Pro-Trump disruptions in Arizona county elevate fears for the 2024 vote (Yvonne Wingett Sanchez and Adriana Usero, The Washington Post)

A new Politico/Ipsos poll has great insights into Trump’s trial, showing that voters seem to be following the cases and staking out their views. Of note: voters don’t buy Trump’s immunity claims, as 70% say U.S. presidents should not be immune from criminal prosecution, including a plurality of Republicans. The Good, Bad and Ugly in a New Poll on Trump’s Trials and the Supreme Court (Ankush Khardori, Politico)

See you on the trail.

Editor’s Note: The Deseret News is committed to covering issues of substance in the 2024 presidential race from its unique perspective and editorial values. Our team of political reporters will bring you in-depth coverage of the most relevant news and information to help you make an informed decision. Find our complete coverage of the election here.