US President Donald Trump and Challenger Joe Biden are set to stage their first presidential debate Tuesday.Trump has decided to skip any formal preparation. And while Biden’s team believes the significance of the debate may be exaggerated, the Democratic nominee has been aggressively preparing to take on the president.
Biden’s campaign has been holding mock debate sessions featuring Bob Bauer, a senior Biden adviser and former White House general counsel, playing the role of Trump, according to a person with direct knowledge of the preparations granted anonymity to discuss internal strategy. Bauer has not actually donned a Trump costume in line with Trump stand-ins from previous years, but he is representing his style and expected strategy.
“I’m sure the president will throw everything he can at (Biden). My guess is that they’re preparing for that — bombarding him with insults and weird digressions,” said Jay Carney, a former aide to Biden and President Barack Obama.
Trump and Biden are scheduled to meet on the debate stage for the first time Tuesday night at Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. The 90-minute event moderated by Fox News host Chris Wallace is the first of three scheduled presidential debates. Vice-President Mike Pence and California Sen. Kamala Harris, Biden’s running mate, will also debate in October.
Those with knowledge of Biden’s preparations suggest he will not take the fight to Trump if he can avoid it. But on Saturday, at least, he was on the attack when he discussed his strategy on MSNBC.
“I’m prepared to go out and make my case as to why I think he’s failed and why I think the answers I have to proceed will help the American people, the American economy and make us safer internationally,” Biden said, arguing that Trump won’t persuade voters with broadsides because “the people know the president is a liar.”
“The debates matter,” said Lara Trump, a senior adviser to the campaign and the president’s daughter-in-law. “Donald Trump certainly did a great job on the debates (in 2016) and I think this will be no different.”
It is hard to say whether high profile endorsements make much difference in politics these days, but nonetheless, Biden and his Running mate Kamala Harris looked pretty pleased to get the nod from the Rock himself.