‘I heard there’s a rumor’: Trump says Democrats might use COVID-19 as an excuse to avoid debates

President Donald Trump is publicly spreading a rumor that presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden will attempt to use the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to avoid debates ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

“I know they want to get out of the debate,” Trump said in an interview with Washington Examiner columnist Salena Zito¬†this week.

“I did well in the debates”

He went on to speculate that Democrats are “saying they won’t be able to debate because of COVID-19,” stressing that he would “like to debate” his likely general-election rival.

“I did well in the debates, or I wouldn’t be standing here,” he said. “But no, I heard there’s a rumor — I don’t know if you guys have been seeing this — they don’t want to debate because of [the coronavirus], but COVID-19 is not the reason not to debate.”

For his part, the former vice president has expressed enthusiasm over the prospect of squaring off against the incumbent.

“I’m ready to debate President Trump on Zoom or Skype anytime he wants,” Biden said during an interview in March, according to Fox News.

Gaslighting Americans?

While Trump’s critics argue he has had his share of gaffes throughout his first term, some pundits believe that Biden has displayed signs of mental decline thus far in the campaign.

In fact, columnist Ted Rall has accused the Democratic Party of “conspiring to gaslight the American people by engineering the presidential election of a man clearly suffering from dementia, Joe Biden.”

During an appearance in New Hampshire last fall, Biden sounded uncertain of his location as he discussed the beauty of Vermont, Forbes reported.

What’s more, he erroneously told primary voters in South Carolina in February that he was running for a seat in the U.S. Senate. Biden was a longtime senator, having represented Delaware from 1973 to 2009.

Video circulated the following month that appeared to show Biden mistaking his sister for his wife while on stage after his Super Tuesday primary victories, as RealClearPolitics reported.

Even without the verbal slip-ups, however, sexual assault allegations by former Senate aide Tara Reade pose their own problems for the Biden campaign. On Election Day, voters will have to choose between a president they have seen in action for four years and a man many people believe is looking for an excuse to stay in hiding.

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