Plans for the 2020 presidential debates have already been altered countless times, with COVID concerns causing venues to pull out and schedules to change. As of now, President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden will face off three times starting in late September, despite the Trump campaign’s efforts to add a fourth debate to the roster. But Biden, and the non-partisan Commission on Presidential Debates, have frequently rejected any call for a fourth debate.
Still, that hasn’t stopped Trump from continuing to press the issue. This week, Trump shared a tweet by Tim Kennedy, a friend of the popular podcast The Joe Rogan Experience. Kennedy postures that both Trump and Biden should appear on Rogan’s program for a four-hour debate to be moderated by Rogan himself:
On my podcast with @JoeRogan he offered to moderate a debate between @JoeBiden and @realDonaldTrump It would be four hours with no live audience. Just the two candidates, cameras, and their vision of how to move this country forward. Who wants this? #debates #Election2020
Trump replied to the tweet by simply writing, “I do.”
Desperate for Debate
While the President continues to trail Biden in the polls, he views the debates as his best chance to regain some ground in the election. As the pandemic has thrown a wrench into the typical campaign season, cancelling big rallies and preventing the candidates from getting close to supporters, Trump believes that a series of aggressive debates will be a net positive for his candidacy.
All the while, Trump has publicly questioned Biden’s mental acuity, ridiculing his performance in Democratic primary debates, when Trump referred to the former vice president as “Sleepy Joe.” On the flipside, Trump has also suggested (without evidence) that Biden has taken some kind of drug to improve his oral performance, and has challenged the Democrat to submit to a drug test before the debate. Biden has mostly ignored these jabs.
Meanwhile, some Democrats have suggested that Biden ought to skip the debates altogether, given Trump’s tendency to lie or speak in extreme hyperbole. But Biden has rejected this advice as well. The Democratic nominee for president has agreed to three primetime debates as sanctioned by the Commission, and does not plan on accepting any changes.
Still, in the case that Trump loses the election, don’t count on him to take a vow of silence like most former presidents have done. Freed from the chains of his office, Trump is unlikely to stay out of the media spotlight. Joe Rogan may still host Trump on his podcast soon after his exit from the White House.