On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden should cancel his three scheduled debates with President Trump because Trump would “belittle” the exchange.
“I don’t think that there should be any debates,” Pelosi said during a Capitol Hill news conference, adding that holding them would just be “an exercise in skullduggery.”
PELOSI: “Don’t tell anybody I told you this— especially don’t tell Joe Biden. I don’t think there should be any debates…”
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) August 27, 2020
Pelosi is not the first high profile Democrat to suggest Biden skip the debates
“I wouldn’t legitimize a conversation with him, nor a debate in terms of the presidency of the United States,” Pelosi said. “Now I know that the Biden campaign thinks in a different way about this.”
Obviously Democrats are worried what might happen when these two men verbally battle. She isn’t the first high profile member of her party to make this suggestion.
Former Bill Clinton Press Secretary Joe Lockhart wrote in early August, “Whatever you do, don’t debate Trump.”
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“Trump has made more than 20,000 misleading or false statements according to the Washington Post,” Lockhart wrote on CNN. “It’s a fool’s errand to enter the ring with someone who can’t follow the rules or the truth.”
“Biden will undoubtedly take heat from Republicans and the media for skipping the debates,” Lockhart admitted. “But it’s worth the risk as trying to debate someone incapable of telling the truth is an impossible contest to win.”
In a July column, the New York Times‘ Thomas Friedman also advised Biden not to debate Trump.
“If the past teaches us anything, Trump might very well lie and mislead for the entire debate, forcing Biden to have to spend a majority of his time correcting Trump before making his own points,” Friedman wrote.
Biden Should Not Debate Trump Unless … https://t.co/FecLmD1dQn Thomas Friedman has some very valid conditions that Biden should insist on before agreeing to debate Trump.
— Socially Responsible Capitalist (@enyherb) July 8, 2020
“That is not a good way for Biden to reintroduce himself to the American people,” the columnist added.
RNC Comms Head to Democrats: This is an ‘Odd way to project confidence in your nominee’
Needless to say, Republicans criticized Pelosi’s suggestion Thursday that Biden sit out the debates.
Communications director for the Republican National Committee, Michael Ahrens, said Democrats are trying to convince Biden to not debate.
Ahrens tweeted: “Democrats’ advice to Joe Biden: 1) Don’t debate. 2) Don’t leave the basement. 3) Don’t concede the election.”
“Odd way to project confidence in your nominee,” he added.
Democrats' advice to Joe Biden:
1) Don't debate.
2) Don't leave the basement.
3) Don't concede the election.
Odd way to project confidence in your nominee.
— Michael Ahrens (@michaelahrens) August 27, 2020
Pelosi says Biden shouldn’t debate Trump because the president ‘stalked’ Hillary in 2016
Pelosi said that Trump’s “disgraceful” performance during the 2016 debate when he was “stalking” Hillary Clinton was reason enough for Biden to avoid the debates.
“So I think that he’ll probably act in a way that is beneath the dignity of the presidency; he does that every day,” Pelosi said. “But I think it will also belittle what the debates are supposed to be about. And they’re not to be about skullduggery on the part of somebody who has no respect for the office he holds, much less the democratic process.”
POLL on DEBATES: Do you think there is any benefit to BIDEN in debating trump? If not, answer 0 or 1 on how many live presidential debates you believe are appropriate
— Thomas Kaine (@thomaskaine5) August 5, 2020
“Why else would he try to undermine the elections in the manner in which he is doing?” Pelosi continued. “So, if Joe Biden asked me what I thought about it, [I’d say] I don’t think that he should dignify that conversation with Donald Trump.”
September is currently the date scheduled for the first presidential debate.
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