House Speaker Nancy Pelosi does not think it is appropriate to hold the debates between President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in the lead-up to the November 3 election.
“I don’t think there should be any debate,” Pelosi told reporters. “I do not think that the president of the United States has comported himself in a way that anybody that has any association with truth, evidence, data, and facts,” Pelosi said according to the August 27 Associated Press video.
Biden’s campaign spokesman, Andrew Bates, commenting on Pelosi’s statement said, “We certainly agree with Speaker Pelosi on her views of the President’s behavior,” adding, “But just as she has powerfully confronted that behavior in the Oval Office and the Cabinet Room, Joe Biden looks forward to doing the same on the debate stage,” according to the Washington Examiner.
It is striking that Pelosi publicly states that Biden should avoid debates with Trump. Traditionally, debates have played an important role in election campaigns, as there is no other way for candidates to simultaneously offer their constituents a clearer view of their respective agendas.
The three debates between Trump and Biden will occur between September 29 and October 22, and there will also be one between Vice President Mike Pence and Biden’s running mate, Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.).
It’s not only Pelosi’s stance as several other Democrats have suggested to Biden that he not confront Trump, including Democratic strategist and former White House press secretary Joe Lockhart.
According to Wall Street Journal columnist Dan Henninger, Biden will be taking a significant risk if he avoids debating Trump. “The big question is whether Joe Biden is going to go out there and campaign … I think he’s going to run a great risk at this point after the conventions if he does not get out there and campaign in front of groups of people, or debate the president,” Henninger said, as quoted by Fox News.
He outlined some of the reasons: “Voters are going to have to make up their minds which party they are going with, and it is going to be difficult, I think, for Democratically inclined voters to do so if their candidate spends most of the campaign in Delaware.”
Biden is known as the “basement candidate” [often serving from his home’s basement in Wilmington, Delaware] for evading his alternative leadership responsibilities.