Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has reportedly agreed to participate in three televised debates with President Donald Trump ahead of November’s election.
In a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates, Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon explained that the former vice president is not interested in discussing the possibility of additional matchups.
“Our position is straightforward and clear,” Dillon wrote. “Joe Biden will accept the Commission’s debates, on the Commission’s dates, under the Commission’s established format and the Commission’s independent choice of moderators.”
“An effort to change the subject”
She went on to write that Trump and Vice President Mike Pence “should do the same” instead of advance the notion of additional debates or different formats.
“Any ‘debate proposals’ in lieu of that are just an effort to change the subject, avoid debates, or create a distracting ‘debate about debates,'” Dillon asserted. She concluded that Trump’s campaign is promoting a “proposal for elaborate negotiations” as a means to “dodge fair, even-handed debates.”
In response, Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh made the case for more debates, marking a reversal from the campaign claim late last year that the president might not agree to any presidential debates.
“An earlier and longer debate schedule is necessary so Americans can see the clear difference between President Trump’s vibrant leadership and Biden’s confused meandering,” Murtaugh claimed.
Biden’s concerning behavior
The former vice president’s frequent gaffes thus far in the 2020 election season has resulted in campaign ads questioning his cognitive function and reports of concern among voters in his own party that debates could exacerbate the situation.
In February, a presidential primary debate performance against Bernie Sanders was overshadowed by a grossly overstated statistic about gun violence in America.
“One hundred and fifty million people have been killed since 2007 when Bernie voted to exempt the gun manufacturers from liability, more than all the wars, including Vietnam from that point on,” Biden said.
With a population of roughly 330 million people, nearly half of the nation’s population would have been killed by guns over that period if his claim were correct.
Combined with a meandering defense against allegations of sexual assault by a former staff member, it might make sense for Biden’s campaign to avoid any unnecessary opportunities to stick his foot in his mouth.