Politics Supporters Urge Joe Biden Not to Debate Trump, Applaud Hosts for Canceling Over COVID-19 Concerns
Biden Tops Trump in CNN Polls for Michigan, Florida, Arizona
Another wave of opinion polls released Sunday showed voters leaning to Democrat Joe Biden over President Donald Trump in Michigan, Florida and Arizona, three key states won by Trump in 2016. © Source: Bloomberg Joe Biden and Donald Trump Source: Bloomberg/Bloomberg Handling of the coronavirus spells trouble for Trump, according to pollsters, as U.S. cases now exceed 4 million and deaths are over 146,000. The U.S. election is 100 days away but early voting will start in some states in as few as five weeks.
Democratic strategists and supporters of Vice President Joe Biden are urging him not to debate President Donald Trump in the lead-up to Election Day, citing Trump's publicity stunts and disregard for the rules in 2016.
Former White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart joined several Democratic Party strategists in bluntly advising Biden, "whatever you do, don't debate Trump." Speaking on CNN Saturday, Lockhart said Trump shouldn't be given another platform which will enable him to "repeat lies," which he said occurred in the 2016 debates against Hillary Clinton.
First presidential debate moves from Notre Dame to Case Western due to COVID-19
The University of Notre Dame is withdrawing as the host site for the first presidential debate in September, saying the health precautions for the event would interfere with student education. "I am grateful to the many members of the University community who have devoted countless hours planning this event, and to the Commission on Presidential Debates leadership for their professionalism and understanding," Notre Dame president Rev. John Jenkins said in a statement. "But in the end, the constraints the coronavirus pandemic put on the event - as understandable and necessary as they are - have led us to withdraw.
Biden backers, including some conservatives, applauded the University of Notre Dame and the University of Michigan for cancelling their scheduled debates over COVID-19 concerns.
CNN political analyst @joelockhart tells @smerconish that Joe Biden shouldn't debate President Trump.
Trump "will take the truth and destroy it, and Biden will be in the position of correcting him over and over and over again. I don't think he should give him that platform." pic.twitter.com/4EOR4Q9Um7— CNN (@CNN) August 1, 2020
The Trump campaign has pushed the other way and urged the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates, which officially oversees the events, to hold even more debates.
"We saw in the debates in 2016 Hillary Clinton showed a mastery of the issues, every point she made was more honest and bested Trump," Lockhart told CNN. "But Trump came out of the debates doing better I think because he just kept repeating the same old lies: 'we're going to build a wall and Mexico is going to pay for it,' 'we're going to keep all those Mexican rapists out of the country,' and 'we're going to make great trade deals' --none of these things have come to pass."
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"Giving him that national forum to continue to spout -- get him to 21,000 or 22,000 lies -- I think just isn't worth it for the Democrats or for Biden," Lockhart continued.
Several opinion columns published in recent months have called for an outright cancellation of the debates, describing them as outdated political rituals designed purely for TV ratings. "There is no suspense any more to these pointless, lobbyist-funded infomercials, and television audiences find them boring," wrote Washington Post columnist Karen Tumulty in a June 25 op-ed.
Longtime Democratic strategist and former Hillary Clinton senior adviser Zac Petkanas agreed with calls for Biden to back out of any and all debates with Trump in the coming months. As it stands currently, there are three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate scheduled between September 29 and October 22.
Joe Biden Will Debate Trump as Scheduled, Jill Biden Says, Dismisses Democrats Urging Him Not To
Dr. Jill Biden, the wife of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, said her husband will absolutely be at the scheduled debates with President Donald Trump this fall—rejecting the suggestion of some strategists who urged Biden not to give Trump the platform. © Screenshot: Fox News | YouTube Dr.
"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," Petkanas tweeted last week, expressing his "opinion that no one asked for."
Speculation over the cancellation of the Biden vs. Trump 2020 presidential debates increased last week after the University of Notre Dame withdrew its campus as host of the September 29 event over coronavirus concerns. The University of Michigan withdrew from hosting a presidential debate on its campus back in June, which has since been rescheduled at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami.
Political commentator Bill Kristol, a so-called "Never Trump" conservative, praised Notre Dame for withdrawing as host of the first presidential debate over coronavirus concerns.
"Good. No need to go to any trouble to replace this debate. Indeed, I gather Biden's already all booked up with zoom calls in those weeks. Also, the Jewish holidays. And the new Perry Mason series. Too bad!" Kristol quipped on Twitter.
Fox's Kurtz cautions Trump team against 'setting the bar too low' for Biden in debates
Fox News's Howard Kurtz called a suggestion by some commentators that presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden skip the presidential debates "a terrible idea," with the "Media Buzz" host also cautioning the Trump campaign against "setting the bar too low" for the former vice president in the upcoming events."I think the debates will happen, but there is a growing movement in left-wing media circles that Biden should just skip them because they say either it's too risky, President Trump won't play fair," Kurtz explained on "America's Newsroom" on Wednesday. "Or, and this is a perennial complaint, they're too superficial and scripted.
The first presidential debate is now set to take place at Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland on September 29; the first vice presidential debate is currently set to take place at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on October 7. The second presidential debate is scheduled for the Arsht Center on October 15, and the third and final debate is set to take place on October 22 on the campus of Belmont University in Nashville.
Newsweek reached out to the Commission on Presidential Debates, which has been in charge of planning all debates since the 1988 election, as well as the Biden and Trump campaigns Saturday afternoon.
In June, the Trump campaign aggressively lobbied the presidential debate commission to schedule an additional debate contest between the president and Biden. Political analysts said the far-fetched request was a reaction to Trump's sagging poll numbers and one Trump official's claim that "the more [Biden] talks, the better off we are."
Commission rejects Trump campaign’s request for debate in early September .
Rudy Giuliani had pushed for a face-off to be held before many voters send in their ballots via mail.In a letter addressed to Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, the commission’s co-chairs wrote that the campaign’s fears of mass early voting before a debate had occurred were unfounded.