Immediately after the Commission on Presidential Debates opted to make the second of the debates between President Trump and Joe Biden a virtual event, the president announced that he would not be taking part. “I’m not going to waste my time on a virtual debate,” he said.
Is this a sign of strength or weakness? And more importantly, how will the voting public decipher the president’s choice?
Ostensibly, the Commission is pushing for the virtual format due to Trump’s recent positive COVID test. However, many supporters of the president are suggesting that this decision is designed to benefit Joe Biden.
Speaking to Maria Bartiromo on Fox, the president said:
“I don’t think I’m contagious … I am feeling good. Really good. Perfect, and we are ready to go. I am ready to go except [the] quarantine situation that you have for a while after you get tested or whatever the procedure is. But I am ready and looking forward to doing the rallies.”
Liberty Nation’s editor in chief, Leesa K. Donner, sees this as a bad move. She said:
“I’d like him to change his mind. Anytime there is an opportunity to see both Biden and Trump at the same time is good for the president. Formatting doesn’t matter. I’m concerned that voters aren’t paying enough attention to the policies and platforms of these two candidates and are getting caught up in a personality contest. I think the president needs one more bite at the apple to make his case before the American people before election day. So I say – Do the debate, Mr. President.”
The Commission is there to facilitate debates based upon the campaign teams’ wishes and wants, and Joe Biden might be more than happy to accommodate Trump considering his current poll numbers. The question is, would the president get a chance to make his case? In the last debate, host Chris Wallace went above and beyond the role of a moderator, and on several memorable occasions, saved Mr. Biden from making serious gaffes. Some would suggest that when the deck is stacked against you, the best thing to do is walk away from the table.