As the Trump campaign has requested the addition of another presidential debate, members of the media are urging former Vice President Joe Biden and his campaign to limit them.
Washington Post columnist Karen Tumulty suggests “rethinking” the debates, urging organizers to limit their audiences “or even do away with them entirely.” Criticizing President Trump and the Republican party for their decision to attempt an in-person convention this summer, she also mocked Trump’s request to add a fourth debate, calling it “not a serious proposal.”
Thomas Friedman of the New York Times has also called for Biden to skip the debates unless Trump releases his tax returns and agrees to a fact-checking team at the debates. “I worry about Joe Biden debating Donald Trump,” Friedman says, quickly clarifying that he fears Trump would have “unfair advantages” if he doesn’t meet these demands. Friedman acknowledges that the debates will be Biden’s “reintroduction to most Americans, who have neither seen nor heard from him for months if not years.” And apparently, Friedman finds that thought concerning.
Still, the Biden campaign has insisted they are committed to participating in all three debates, and Biden has said he “can hardly wait.” But conservatives on Twitter have speculated that the Biden campaign may consider Friedman’s suggestions or use his points as an excuse to keep Biden from the debate floor’s spotlight.
Byron York of the Washington Examiner called Friedman’s article “an early public statement of fear Biden will not do well in debate,” and a “suggestion of excuse for Biden to cancel while still blaming Trump.”
Friedman column an early public statement of fear Biden will not do well in debate, suggestion of excuse for Biden to cancel while still blaming Trump. We'll see who picks up on it. https://t.co/n5rpVirBeD
— Byron York (@ByronYork) July 8, 2020
The presidential debate scheduled for October 15 was canceled by the University of Michigan, the original host for the event, over concerns that the debate would draw a crowd during the coronavirus pandemic. The debate has since been moved to Miami, Florida. After the University of Michigan’s cancellation, the University of Notre Dame — where a debate is currently scheduled for September 29 — declined to tell the South Bend Tribune whether that debate would still continue as planned.
A third debate is planned for October 22 in Nashville, Tennessee, with a vice presidential debate scheduled for October 7 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Back in April, Biden shut down the idea of continuing the Democratic debates with his opponent Bernie Sanders, blaming the coronavirus pandemic. “I think we’ve had enough debates,” Biden said after the Sanders campaign signaled their willingness to participate in an April debate.