House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, thinks her party’s nominee Joe Biden shouldn’t dignify President Donald Trump with a debate, because he disrespects the office and has engaged in “skulduggery” during the current election.
“I don’t think there should be any debates,” Pelosi (D-California) told reporters on Thursday. “I wouldn’t legitimize a conversation with him, nor a debate in terms of the presidency.”
And so it begins.
PELOSI: “Don’t tell anybody I told you this.. Especially don’t tell Joe Biden. But I don’t think there should be any debates.”
There it is.pic.twitter.com/Pai38GVJNy
— Jason Howerton (@jason_howerton) August 27, 2020
Debates should not be about “skulduggery on the part of somebody who has no respect for the office he holds, much less the democratic process,” Pelosi said, using an archaic term for underhanded behavior or trickery.
“Why else would he try to undermine the elections in the manner in which he is doing?” she added, presumably reasserting her claim from last week that Trump and the Republicans were “enemies of the state” for opposing universal voting by mail and allegedly “defunding” the US Postal Service.
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She also said that Trump would “probably” act in a way that is “beneath the dignity” of the presidency, adding that he “does that every day.” As an example, she cited his “stalking” of Hillary Clinton during one of the debates in 2016.
Pelosi isn’t exactly a stranger to disrespectful gestures, from sarcastic clapping to ripping up her copy of Trump’s State of the Union speech this year. Though she insisted that Biden’s campaign does not share her position on the debates, her remarks were quickly interpreted as running interference for Biden by conservatives convinced the former vice president is either unwilling or unable to face Trump on the stage.
The people of the United States will never vote for a candidate who is afraid to debate. Presidential debates are a time-honored tradition. Joe Biden either has dementia or is a coward. Which is it?
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) August 27, 2020
Others saw it as a way to “manage expectations” for Biden ahead of the debates, so no matter how he does the friendly media could still praise him.
This is an obvious ploy to lower expectations for Biden’s debate performance, so that if he doesn’t soil himself on stage, the media can claim he was a modern-day Cicero. Biden is going to debate and do fine because he’s a natural BSer w/ the gift of gab. https://t.co/nZczrfnlFP
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) August 27, 2020
One reporter even pulled up a thread of all the times Democrats and their media sympathizers denounced not having debates as a Republican conspiracy theory.
Oh, cancel the debates, @SpeakerPelosi?
I was told by @brianstelter that this was “a right-wing media tempest, fueled by hour after hour of Fox commentary” to suggest this?
And not just Stelt…🧵🧵🧵 pic.twitter.com/ohNnsDzdZt
— Drew Holden (@DrewHolden360) August 27, 2020
Biden managed to deliver his speech at last week’s Democratic convention without any verbal or physical gaffes, unlike every unscripted online appearance he has made from the basement of his Delaware home over the summer.
Trump has repeatedly insinuated that the 77-year-old’s mental acuity isn’t what it used to be, and on Wednesday said both he and Biden should be tested for drugs before the debates. Even some of Biden’s senior advisers have argued he was better off staying in the basement and not engaging with the general public.
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