Political pundits and the mainstream media are going all-in on pushing presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden not to debate President Donald Trump this fall.
Their efforts have intensified in recent weeks, playing out across the editorial pages of the nation’s leading newspapers, network television, and social media. In an op-ed for CNN titled “Joe Biden could still lose this election,” former White House press secretary Joe Lockhart urged Biden to skip the debates, suggesting that President Trump won’t follow the rules or speak the truth.
“Trump has now made more than 20,000 misleading or false statements according to the Washington Post,” Lockhart wrote. “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. But it’s worth the risk as trying to debate someone incapable of telling the truth is an impossible contest to win.”
Another op-ed written by Washington-based journalist Elizabeth Drew and published in The New York Times on Monday, Aug. 3, went as far as to call for scrapping presidential debates because they “have never made sense as a test for presidential leadership,” reported the Daily Caller.
“This, by the way, isn’t written out of any concern that Donald Trump will prevail over Joe Biden in the debates; Mr. Biden has done just fine in a long string of such contests,” Drew wrote. “The point is that ‘winning’ a debate, however assessed, should be irrelevant, as are the debates themselves.”
The Trump campaign has pressed for the debates to be held sooner, and more of them put on the schedule.
Calls for removing debates from the media have raised more questions from Republicans and the Trump campaign as they doubt the former vice president’s stamina and mental fitness.
“Americans deserve to see Joe Biden attempt to defend his bad policy ideas,” Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) tweeted. “That this is even a question is indicative of a deeply corrupt political media culture.”
Americans deserve to see Joe Biden attempt to defend his bad policy ideas. That this is even a question is indicative of a deeply corrupt political-media culture. https://t.co/QdTicHkOYk
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) August 3, 2020
“Only in DC do they think this would work. The elites think the American people are stupid,” former acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell said in a tweet. “The race would immediately be over—and it would be a landslide for Trump.”
Donald Trump Jr. mocked Biden for being afraid to debate the president, questioning his ability to lead the country.
“Yikes!!! Out of 25 candidates, Dems nominee can’t even debate his opponent,” Trump Jr. tweeted. “If Biden can’t debate @realDonaldTrump how could he possibly stand up to Russia or China?”
Yikes!!! Out of 25 candidates, Dems nominee can’t even debate his opponent. If Biden can’t debate @realDonaldTrump how could he possibly stand up to Russia or China?
That’s right, he couldn’t and wouldn’t! https://t.co/aOCG9TWy5H
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) August 3, 2020
Several Democratic senators said Biden shouldn’t shy away from a debate despite risks.
However, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) suggested that three debates, which have been the traditional number of presidential debates in recent years, are too much.
“This is a big race, and the answer is yes, I think he should,” Feinstein said. “I think one or two debates is sufficient. I don’t see a long string of debates.” “Biden has nothing to be ashamed of, and I think he will shine. I think his candidacy is about an alternative to Trump, and Joe represents that alternative. So I think he presents it well,” she added.
A Biden campaign spokesman said Monday that Biden looked forward to facing President Trump on all three occasions set by the Commission on Presidential Debates, reported the Hill.