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Biden insists he will debate Trump after Pelosi remarks

The Hill logo The Hill 8/27/2020 Morgan Chalfant
Donald Trump, Joe Biden are posing for a picture: Biden insists he will debate Trump after Pelosi remarks © Getty Images Biden insists he will debate Trump after Pelosi remarks

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Thursday said that he would debate President Trump shortly after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) suggested that Biden shouldn't "legitimize" the incumbent president by participating in debates.

"No. As long as the commission continues down the straight now as they have, I'm going to debate him," Biden told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell when asked whether he would consider not debating Trump following Pelosi's comments.

"I am going to be the fact-checker on the stage while I'm debating him," Biden continued.

The former vice president, who has already agreed in writing to three presidential debates with Trump, said he had received other recommendations that he shouldn't debate Trump without a fact-checker present because of the president's penchant for false statements, but he shrugged them off.

"Look, I think everybody knows that this man has a somewhat pathological tendency not to tell the truth," Biden said.

Biden added that the Republican National Convention this week has been characterized by "one lie after another," citing fact checks being done by the media during this week's convention.

Biden's comments came roughly an hour after Pelosi said at a press conference that she didn't believe there should be any presidential debates during the 2020 campaign.

"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," Pelosi said. "I wouldn't legitimize a conversation with him nor a debate in terms of the presidency of the United States."

The leading House Democrat said that, instead, each candidate should take separate stages to answer questions about their policy positions, saying a debate with Trump would be "an exercise in skulduggery." She acknowledged during her remarks that Biden's campaign "thinks in a different way about this."

The Commission on Presidential Debates has scheduled three presidential debates for Sept. 29 in Cleveland, Oct. 15 in Miami and Oct. 22 in Nashville, Tenn., as well as a vice presidential debate on Oct. 7 in Salt Lake City. Biden has agreed to participate in all three presidential debates.

The Trump campaign unsuccessfully pushed to add a fourth debate or otherwise move up the last debate to the beginning of September, arguing that the debate should begin before early voting starts. The commission has rejected that proposal.

Joe Lockhart, a prominent Democratic strategist and former White House spokesman for the Clinton administration, last month urged Biden not to debate Trump, writing in a CNN op-ed that Trump's penchant for misleading statements made him uniquely unsuited for the debate stage and that Biden would be making a mistake in agreeing to debate him.

However, other Democrats have argued that Biden should debate Trump, countering that idea.

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