Thursday on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said he would debate President Donald Trump despite House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) urging him not to do so.
“I’ve been recommended to me by a number of very competent people who know their way around, including leading Republicans, that I shouldn’t debate Trump unless there’s a fact checker on the ground… saying that’s true, that’s not true. But look, I think everybody knows this man has a somewhat pathological tendency not to tell the truth,” Biden said in an MSNBC interview.
Biden swatted away House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s call for him to drop out of the debates against Trump.
Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Biden should not “legitimize a conversation with [Trump]” because he lacks “any association with truth.” She also said Biden should deny the president an opportunity to “act in a way that is beneath the dignity of the presidency.”
The former vice president told MSNBC that “as long as the Commission [on Presidential Debates] continues down the straight and narrow as they have, I’m going to debate him.”
“I’m gonna be a fact checker on the floor, while I’m debating him,” Biden said.
Trump senses an opportunity against Biden after using debating forums to crush a series of competitors in 2016. Trump often claims Biden, 77, is senile, and on Wednesday suggested that Biden be drug-tested before the debates to make sure he doesn’t use performance-enhancing drugs.
In the MSNBC interview, Biden praised news outlets for “fact checking” Trump supporters speaking at this week’s mostly virtual Republican National Convention.
“The vast majority, with notable exceptions, of the news media have been fact checking things they have been saying during the convention, and it’s just one lie after another — lying, lying, lying, lying — one after another,” Biden said.
Biden also slammed Trump’s reaction to anti-police brutality protests — most recently featuring Trump’s deployment of federal officers with Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ consent to quell rioting, arson and violence in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Trump is “rooting for more violence, not less,” Biden said.
Biden also faulted Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Let’s assume we finally do get a vaccine, and it works. How much credibility are we going to have telling people to take it after going through all this stuff they have misrepresented so far?” he said.
This month, Trump unsuccessfully asked the Commission on Presidential Debates to reschedule one of the debates with Biden to early September, so voters could tune in before casting mail-in ballots.
Biden’s campaign refused Trump’s request for more than three debates.
The first debate is scheduled for Sept. 29 in Cleveland, Ohio, followed by an Oct. 15 debate in Miami, Florida, and an Oct. 22 debate in Nashville, Tennessee.
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