by WorldTribune Staff, August 4, 2020
Several of Joe Biden’s allies in the major media are advising the Democrat candidate’s handlers to keep Biden in the basement and not let him out to debate President Donald Trump.
The Commission on Presidential Debates has scheduled four debates so far: three between Trump and Biden and one between Vice President Mike Pence and whoever emerges as Biden’s running mate.
As July was ending, Trump was gaining in the polls. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman warned: “I worry about Joe Biden debating Donald Trump. He should do it only under two conditions. Otherwise, he’s giving Trump unfair advantages.”
Friedman suggested that Biden refuse to debate Trump unless the president releases his tax returns. He also called for a “real-time fact-checking team” if there are any debates.
Joe Lockhart, press secretary for the Clinton-era White House, said during an appearance on CNN that any potential blowback over Biden skipping the debates was “worth the risk, as trying to debate someone incapable of telling the truth is an impossible contest to win.”
“It’s a fool’s errand to enter the ring with someone who can’t follow the rules or the truth,” Lockhart said. “Biden will undoubtedly take heat from Republicans and the media for skipping the debates.”
Hillary Clinton adviser Zac Petkanas tweeted: “Biden shouldn’t feel obligated to throw Trump a lifeline by granting him any debates at all. This is not a normal presidential election and Trump is not a legitimate candidate.”
One New York Times opinion writer even said that the debates should be called of as they have outlived their usefulness.
Under the headline “Let’s Scrap the Presidential Debates”, Elizabeth Drew writes for the NY Times: “The debates have never made sense as a test for presidential leadership. In fact, one could argue that they reward precisely the opposite of what we want in a president.”
CNN personality Brian Stelter tried to pass off calls from the Left for Biden to skip the debates as “mostly a right-wing media tempest, fueled by hour after hour of Fox commentary (not reporting), far removed from campaign reality …”
Others noted that Stelter’s own network ran with the headline: “Political analyst makes plea for Biden not to debate Trump”.
Some observers noted that all of the bloviating on Trump’s debate behavior is merely cover for a candidate in Biden who is seen as an empty vessel whose cognitive abilities are decreasing by the day.
Trump’s team has even argued for more that the customary three debates and for decreasing the role of the debate moderators to give the candidates an opportunity to frankly discuss the most pressing issues facing the nation.
“Americans would like to have more than three 90-minute opportunities to watch their two-party nominees battle it out,” Kellyanne Conway, a senior aide to the Trump White House, said on Monday.
Political analyst Steve Malzberg noted that Biden turning down “FOX News Sunday” host Chris Wallace for an interview signals he will not debate Trump.
Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien said Monday that he wants “more debates” and he wants them to begin sooner rather than later.
In an interview with Fox News’s “Fox & Friends,” Stepien voiced concern that the current debate schedule, which begins on Sept. 29, won’t give early voters in several states a chance to see the two candidates go head-to-head before ballots are cast.
“We want more debates. We want debates starting sooner,” Stepien said. “First debate is scheduled for Sept. 29, by that time 16 states already will have voted, by Sept. 29. That’s a concern to me. I want to see President Trump on the debate stage against Joe Biden.”