As Biden Prepares, Trump Worries About Tuesday’s Debate
Donald Trump seems worried about debating Joe Biden.
Apparently fearing that he’ll be out-performed, Trump Sunday morning again made the baseless allegation that the former vice president is medicinally enhancing his mental acuity. While not specifying of whom he will be making his “demand,” Trump is calling for Biden to submit to a drug test before or after Tuesday night’s debate in Cleveland.
I will be strongly demanding a Drug Test of Sleepy Joe Biden prior to, or after, the Debate on Tuesday night. Naturally, I will agree to take one also. His Debate performances have been record setting UNEVEN, to put it mildly. Only drugs could have caused this discrepancy???
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 27, 2020
Former secretary of state John Kerry offered his thoughts on Trump’s testing tweet:
This reminds me of what my friend Senator Fritz Hollings once said when his opponent challenged him to take a drug test: "I'll take a drug test if you'll take an IQ test." https://t.co/8Ro8ExB3Bs
— John Kerry (@JohnKerry) September 27, 2020
Over the past several days Trump have snarkily mocked former Biden for making few public appearances as he prepares for the debate. Trump himself says he doesn’t feel the need for formal debate rehearsal sessions, saying that he “sort of prepare every day by just doing what I’m doing,” he told “Fox and Friends.”
While Trump has expressed his bullying bravado about the upcoming debate, others on team Trump are taking a different approach.
As if they were crafting previews of a TV show, some of Trump’s surrogates have been trying to mold audience expectations in advance of Tuesday night, putting it out there that Biden might actually out-duel Trump on stage in a one-on-one setting. “Joe Biden is actually a very good debater. He doesn’t have as many blunders as he does in his daily interviews,” Trump adviser Jason Miller.
How Biden should deal with Trump Tuesday night is the subject of much discussion. Philippe Reines, the former state department official who played Trump during Hillary Clinton’s 2016 debate prep, says that even though Trump is going to lie repeatedly about his record, himself and Biden, the former vice president should forget about trying to fact-check him in real time or hope that moderator Chris Wallace does it. Instead, Reines writes in the Washington Post:
“There’s a third option: Preempt the president. Clearly and strongly preview for the 100 million people watching what will happen in the debate as soon it begins. Biden should say early on that we all know what’s coming. Not to remind voters. But to remind Trump, by speaking on behalf of the majority of the country, that everyone is on to him, in a reversal of Trump’s favorite ‘everyone is saying’ paralipsis device: ‘C’mon, Mr. President. Everyone knows that whatever you call fake is real. Whatever you call a lie is the truth. Whatever you accuse others of doing is what you’ve done. And whatever you make fun of me for saying by accident only serves to deflect from what you say on purpose.'”
New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristoff says that to beat Trump, Biden should mock him:
“Denouncing dictators has its place, but sly wit sometimes deflates them more effectively. Shaking one’s fist at a leader doesn’t win people over as much as making that leader a laughingstock. Authoritarians are pompous creatures with monstrous egos and so tend to be particularly vulnerable to humor. They look mighty but are often balloons in need of a sharp pin.”