Pelosi: Biden shouldn’t ‘legitimize’ or ‘dignify’ Trump with debates
The memo is getting around.
On Thursday, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Joe Biden should not debate President Donald Trump in the coming weeks.
The president and his challenger are scheduled for three head-to-head sessions before the election.
Pelosi, however, doesn’t want to see it. She believes Biden should be above it all.
“I don’t think there should be any debates. I do not think the president of the United States has comported himself in a way that anybody that has any association with the truth, evidence, data, and facts. I wouldn’t legitimize a conversation with him, nor a debate in terms of the presidency of the United States,” she told reporters.
“So, I think that he will probably act in a way that is beneath the dignity of the presidency,” Pelosi added. “He does that every day. But I think he will also belittle what the debates are supposed to be about, and they are not to be about skullduggery on the part of somebody who has no respect for the office he holds, much less the democratic process.”
“So, if Joe Biden asks you what I thought about it, I don’t think he should dignify that conversation with Donald Trump. You ask him any questions — both of them. Just take their own stage for any number of conversations about any subject; hold them accountable.”
With the latter comment, Pelosi is preaching to the choir.
For one thing, she surely knows that neither Biden nor his running mate. Sen. Kamala Harris has shown any willingness to engage with reporters as Trump has done regularly for the last few months. So Biden will remain safely cocooned from prying journalists.
But even if they did, it would likely be meaningless, considering the mainstream media is already in the tank for Biden.
Meanwhile, Pelosi has picked up on the cues from those on her side, as op-eds in recent weeks have shown.
President Bill Clinton’s former spokesman, Joe Lockhart, urged Biden to not debate, expressing ideas similar to Pelosi’s. Elizabeth Drew, a veteran insider D.C. journalist, suggested ditching debates altogether because, as she wrote in The New York Times, they have come “to resemble professional wrestling matches.” She added, “The debates have never made sense as a test for presidential leadership.” NYT columnist Tom Friedman said Biden should only debate if Trump releases his tax returns and commits to both men utilizing a “real-time fact-checking team” to judge answers.
This is not new, however.
As far back as May, left-wing columnist Paul F. deLespinasse wrote, “Biden should refuse to debate Mr. Trump. It is impossible to debate someone who is willing to make up facts on the spur of the moment.”
Conservatives have responded with two general replies.
Steve Forbes noted a couple of weeks ago, “The real fear of Democratic insiders: Biden can’t hold his own, thereby casting serious doubts about his fitness to occupy the Oval Office.”
Columnist Liz Peek offered that Democrats don’t want to expose Biden’s political pliability. “Biden is, in effect, a blank slate, upon which his handlers hope that voters will write whatever they want from a candidate,” she wrote. “The longer he is holed up in his basement, the longer most Americans will remain clueless about Biden’s evolving politics.”
After Pelosi’s comments, Biden said he would still debate Trump. He may want to do that, but it’s clear the rest of the party increasingly doesn’t.
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