Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is rejecting calls that he not formally debate President Donald Trump.
“I’m going to debate him. I am going to be the fact-checker on the stage while I'm debating him,” Biden said Thursday during an interview with MSNBC.
The former vice president added, “I think everybody knows that this man has a somewhat pathological tendency not to tell the truth.”
Trump and Biden are scheduled for debates on September 29, October 15 and October 22.
Biden made the statements shortly after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she did not think there should be any presidential debates this year.
“I wouldn’t legitimize a conversation with him, nor a debate in terms of the presidency of the United States,” Pelosi said.
She predicted that during the debates, Trump would “probably act in a way that is beneath the dignity of the presidency,” recalling what she termed his “disgraceful” actions during the 2016 debates with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when he loomed over the Democratic nominee during a town hall-style encounter.
With 67 days left until the 2020 election, Democrats are continuing to assail Trump for his administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed 180,000 people in the United States — the most reported by any country, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
In some of the most searing language yet by the opposition party’s ticket, Biden’s running mate, Senator Kamala Harris of California, said that while the threat from the virus increased, “Donald Trump stood idly by, and folks, it was a deadly decision.
“Donald Trump froze. He was scared. And he was petty and vindictive,” she said in a livestreamed speech from George Washington University in Washington.
In her first solo outing of the campaign, Harris said that while Biden has proposed a plan to combat COVID-19, the current president still does not have a plan.
“You can’t stop it with a tweet,” she said.
Harris said Trump has failed miserably to carry out a president’s most fundamental duty, which is to protect the American people.
Trump has repeatedly emphasized his decision at the end of January to ban entry to anyone who had been in China during the previous 14 days, a decision that came immediately after the World Health Organization declared an international public health emergency.
The president credits his action with saving potentially millions of American lives, and says Biden criticized it at the time.
On the day after the China ban, Biden called Trump xenophobic and said the president should make decisions based on science. But Democrats contend the former vice president was criticizing Trump in general, not the specific policy.