By Justine Coleman, THE HILL, 08/27/20
© Greg Nash
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday she doesn’t think there should be any presidential debates ahead of the November election, arguing Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden shouldn’t “legitimize” a discussion with President Trump.
“I don’t think that there should be any debates,” Pelosi told reporters. “I do not think that the president of the United States has comported himself in a way that anybody has any association with 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 added.
“I think that he’ll probably act in a way that is beneath the dignity of the presidency,” she said, citing what she called his “disgraceful” actions during the 2016 debates with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“He does that every day,” she added. “But I think he will also belittle what the debates are supposed to be about.”
Instead, Pelosi proposed that the candidates take separate stages and answer questions about their policies in a “conversation with the American people” instead of “an exercise in skulduggery.”
But she acknowledged that the Biden campaign “thinks in a different way about this.”
Speaker Pelosi says that she does not think there should be any presidential debates between Pres. Trump and Joe Biden:
“I wouldn’t legitimize a conversation with [Pres. Trump] nor a debate in terms of the presidency of the United States”https://t.co/XjbN1GG9vz pic.twitter.com/pvH1E8v5mb— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 27, 2020
The House Speaker’s remarks come as some within the Democratic Party have said Biden shouldn’t participate in debates with Trump, pointing to the polling advantage Biden has over the president.
Pelosi had hinted that she didn’t think Biden should debate Trump during an interview last week with David Axelrod on his podcast.”My view, I wouldn’t even debate Trump because unless you have a lie detector, or a truth teller,” she told “The Axe Files,” adding that Biden “has said he will, and that’s great.” She also alleged the press have “enabled a lot of Trump to happen.” “Remember when he was stalking Hillary Clinton during the debate,” she said. “Why wouldn’t the press have said go back to your place? Why did they let that happen?”
The Biden campaign has dismissed advice to skip the debates, with a spokesman saying earlier this month that he looked forward to debating the president.
“We’ve had presidential debates for a long time now, and it’s been a way for a lot of people around the nation to be able to see the candidates in action,” Warren said.Trump and his campaign have sought to cast doubt on Biden’s mental fitness, emphasizing his past verbal gaffes, and have pushed for more debates and for them to take place sooner. Biden himself said it is a “legitimate question” to ask about the mental fitness of any candidate over the age of 70, while dismissing Trump’s attacks.
“The only thing I can say to the American people … watch me,” Biden said in a recent interview with ABC News.
The president also requested the candidates take drug tests before the first debate against Biden in Cleveland on Sept. 29, suggesting that drugs had improved the former vice president’s debate performance against Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in March.