At her weekly press conference, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi urged former Vice President Joe Biden to not debate President Trump before the 2020 presidential election, saying Trump would “belittle what the debates are supposed to be about.”
“I don’t think that there should be any debates,” Pelosi said. “I don’t think the president of the United States has caported himself in a way that anybody [that] has any association with truth, evidence, data, and facts.”
Trump and Biden are slated to face off three times between now and November third. The Trump campaign has been pushing for a fourth debate, but Biden and his team have refused to accept the invitation. However, the Speaker believes that number should drop to zero. “I wouldn’t legitimize a conversation with him, nor a debate in terms of the presidency of the United States,” Pelosi added.
Though the Speaker acknowledged Biden disagrees with her assessment. “Now, I know the Biden campaign thinks in a different way about this, but I think what he did in 2016 was disgraceful – stalking Hillary Clinton like that.”
Pelosi, referring to a media myth where Trump early followed Clinton around the stage during the second 2016 presidential debate, was disappointed Clinton didn’t tell Trump to back off and return to his podium. However, the events that night didn’t quite unfold as Pelosi remembers.
Through clever camera angling and depth perception, viewers believed Trump had followed Clinton from behind around the stage, getting uncomfortably close to the former Secretary of State in what many media pundits would call yet another example of his sexist behavior.
When viewed from a less deceitful angle, the still image circulating social media told another story. Trump actually remained by his podium, whereas it was Clinton who had ventured over to the now-President’s side. Even then, Trump and Clinton were at least six feet apart.
Anyway, Trump will act in a way that is “beneath the dignity of the presidency. He does that every day,” Pelosi continued. “I think he will also belittle what the debates are supposed to be about. And they’re not to be about the skullduggery on the part of somebody who has no respect of the office he holds, much less the democratic process. Why else would he try to undermine the elections in a manner in which he is doing.”
“I don’t think he should dignify that conversation with Donald Trump.” Pelosi would rather they “take their own stage,” seperate from one another during their own time slots to go over their own plans for the country, allowing moderators to test the candidate’s knowledge and hold them accountable in real time, creating a “conversation with the American people, not an exercise in skullduggery.”
With campaigning road blocked by the ongoing Coronavirus lockdown, and the Biden campaign seldomly leaving the comfort of Joe Biden’s basement for extended public speeches or press conferences, the debates will be some of the few opportunities this election cycle for voters to see both candidates together for an extended period of time.
When asked Thursday on MSNBC whether he’d consider not debating Trump, Biden responded, “no. As long as the Commission (on Presidential Debates) continues down the straight and narrow as they have, I’m going to debate him. I know for certain, I’m gonna be a fact-checker on the floor while I’m debating him.”
Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said the campaign agrees with Pelosi’s take on the president, “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.”
Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh fired back, saying “Joe Biden had plenty of practice from the eleven Democratic primary debates, but he’s still getting lots of advice from Nancy Pelosi and others who want him to bail out on encounters with President Trump completely.”
“Murtaugh claimed Biden had ‘vehemently opposed’ holding even one debate before some Americans begin to vote,” according to Fox News.
“We are also concerned that his handlers will ultimately decide to keep him in his basement and avoid debates entirely or suggest holding them remotely via Skype, where Biden could rely on nearby handlers, a teleprompter, or notes,” Murtaugh added. “Biden clearly knows he can’t defend the radical left policies he has adopted and wants to keep voters in the dark as long as possible.”