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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden shouldn’t debate with President Donald Trump ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential elections.
Pelosi told reporters, “I don’t think that there should be any debates. 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,” Pelosi added.
Pelosi went on to say that while the Biden campaign feels differently about debates, she discouraged the idea of holding the debates and complained about Trump’s behavior during the 2016 Presidential Debates with then-candidate Hillary Clinton.
“Remember when he was stalking Hillary Clinton during the debate,” Pelosi said. “Why wouldn’t the press have said go back to your place? Why did they let that happen?”
Pelosi also accused the press of having “enabled a lot of Trump to happen.” Pelosi also suggested instead of debates, the two candidates should be questioned by members of the press on their own separate stages.
Pelosi’s comments come as Trump’s team has launched attacks questioning Biden’s mental fitness in recent months and calling him “Sleepy Joe.”
The Commission on Presidential Debates has scheduled three debates ahead of the election, with the first set to take place on Sept. 29 in Cleveland, Ohio. Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris, Biden’s vice-presidential pick, will also face off in a debate.
Trump has also called for additional debates, and for the debates to take place before states begin early voting.
In an interview with MCNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, about an hour after Pelosi’s remarks, Biden said he would debate Trump.
“.@JoeBiden is ready to debate Trump, as he tells @mitchellreports: “I’m going to be a fact checker on the floor while I’m debating him,” a Twitter user posted, with video of his interview with Mitchell.
— Matt Hill (@thematthill) August 27, 2020
In his comments, Biden praised members of the news media who have fact-checked speakers at the Republican National Convention. Biden said he had conversations with advisors that suggested he shouldn’t debate Trump unless there is a fact-checker present. Biden did not say he would require such a prerequisite to debate Trump.