Fact check: Trump falsely claims that Biden, who has engaged in the debates, is trying to get out of the debate

“Now, he’s already saying he can’t debate for Covid. Do you believe it? ‘I can’t debate for Covid.’ That was it: I heard a little hint two days ago. I said, ‘Look at this,'” Trump said. during a Fox News City Hall event in Wisconsin with host Sean Hannity.

Done first: Trump’s claim is completely unfounded. Biden has officially pledged to participate in all three scheduled presidential debates, and Biden has repeatedly said he is eager to debate with Trump, even if the pandemic forces them to hold the event online rather than in person.

Trump, by contrast, has not officially committed to the scheduled debates. Instead, his campaign has been looking for changes to the debate schedule and, according to the New York Times, he wants an unusual role in selecting moderators.
Biden’s campaign said in a letter Monday to the Presidential Debates Commission that Biden will participate in the debates scheduled for September 29, October 15 and October 22.

“Our position is direct and clear: Joe Biden will accept the debates of the Commission, on the dates of the Commission, under the format established by the Commission and the independent election of the moderators of the Commission,” wrote Biden’s campaign manager. Jen O’Malley Dillon. “Donald Trump and Mike Pence should do the same. That is what all the candidates for president and vice president have done in modern times, both Democrats and Republicans.”

O’Malley Dillon specifically asked the commission to confirm that it has plans for alternative arrangements in the event that “COVID control measures threaten to affect the conduct of debates as planned.”

“There is no reason why Vice President Biden and President Trump cannot meet for debates with appropriate security measures and social distancing (established by public health authorities) on the three dates that CPD has identified. Nothing should impede holding debates between Joe Biden and Donald Trump on these dates, again, we don’t want to give President Trump any excuse not to debate, “O’Malley Dillon wrote.

There were news of debate related to the coronavirus two days before Trump’s comments on Thursday, but it had nothing to do with Biden’s stance. The commission announced Tuesday that on October 15 it would move to Miami from Ann Arbor, Michigan; the University of Michigan said the challenges of the pandemic made its housing plans infeasible.
Biden himself has said in multiple appearances and interviews that he is eager to debate Trump, even if the pandemic makes an in-person debate impossible.

“I can hardly wait to debate Donald Trump. Are you kidding me?” Biden said at a fundraiser in April, according to a group report. He added, “Look, I’m ready to discuss it. Zoom or Skype or Slack or Hangouts or in person, anytime, anywhere you want.”

Biden said in late March that he thought there was no need for additional Democratic primary debates against Senator Bernie Sanders, over whom he had overwhelming delegated leadership. (Sanders retired two weeks later.) Biden said, explaining his position at the time, that he was concentrating on the pandemic crisis.
But, contrary to Trump’s hints and claims in April, May, and now June, Biden has never suggested that he wants to avoid general election debates with Trump.

Trump’s position on the debates

The Trump campaign has refused to immediately accept the three debates scheduled by the commission. Instead, he has sought changes to the debate schedule.

“We want fair debates. We want them sooner and we want a longer schedule. We also don’t want them to face football games competing for viewers,” campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a statement released last week by New York. Times. (There is an NFL game on Thursday night scheduled for each of October 15-22.)

The Times reported that the Trump campaign wants four debates instead of the planned three, and that Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, proposed to the commission that both campaigns have a role in choosing moderators.

The commission announced in Tuesday’s statement that the moderators will be chosen, as usual, by the commission.

Trump declined Thursday to make his own public effort for more debates, explaining to Hannity that he didn’t want to declare that he wanted more than three because people would say, “Oh, he feels like he’s losing.”

“What I want to do is do all three and I’ll do whatever they want. I don’t care,” Trump said.