Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will likely role-play as Joe Biden to help President Trump prepare for the much-anticipated debates ahead because he was ‘harder to face than Hillary’ Clinton in 2016.
Two weeks ago, Trump reportedly gathered with a group of his closest advisers at his Bedminster golf club in New Jersey to discuss their debate strategy against the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.
According to the report from Axios, tucked away inside a conference room with Trump was his son-in-law Jared Kushner, senior advisor Jason Miller, new campaign manager Bill Steipen and Christie.
Christie reportedly role-played as Hillary Clinton to help Trump prep for his 2016 debate season, and he will likely step into a similar role this time around.
According to a report from Axios, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (right) will likely role-play as Joe Biden ahead of the presidential debates
Team Trump reportedly sees the national presidential debates as one of the only opportunities to directly challenge him on the national stage
Although the group did not specifically discuss Christie’s role, a source told Axios that Trump has made comments in private suggesting this would be true.
Trump reportedly told associates that Christie ‘was better than Hillary’ and ‘harder to debate than Hillary’ in 2016.
The group has reportedly agreed to meet at least every 10 days between now and the first debate .
And they decided to keep the group small, limiting it to just five to six people, to avoid any potential information leaks.
However, they may occasionally invite different people to the meetings based on subject matter and areas of expertise.
In 2016, Chris Christie reportedly role-played as Trump’s democratic opponent Hillary Clinton to help him prepare
Trump reportedly told associates that Christie ‘was better than Hillary’ and ‘harder to debate than Hillary’ in 2016. Pictured: Hillary Clinton in New York in 2019
A source familiar with the meeting told Axios that the Trump campaign recognizes the importance of the debates.
‘I don’t think he [Trump] sees the debates as the last inflection points, but potentially the most important,’ the source said.
‘I think he always thinks he can create an inflection point. But he has verbalized how important these are going to be.
‘He’s said, ‘We gotta win. The press will never give me the credit for it, but the people will.’
Team Trump reportedly doubts that Joe Biden will take on any rigorous interviews before Election Day, so they view the debates as one of the only opportunities to outperform him on a national stage.
Some Trump advisers have reportedly cautioned Trump that Biden, who entered US politics in the 1970s, is actually an experienced debater that should not be counted out.
In recent interviews, Miller has attempted to broaden expectations regarding Biden’s debate performance.
‘Joe Biden is actually a very good debater,’ he told the Washington Post this month. ‘He doesn’t have as many gaffes as he does in his everyday interviews.’
Jason Miller, senior adviser on Team Trump: ‘Joe Biden is actually a very good debater. He doesn’t have as many gaffes as he does in his everyday interviews’
Another obstacle blocking Team Trump is a lack of leverage over the Commission on Presidential Debates.
Earlier this year, Trump-loyalist Rudy Giuliani sent a list of preferred moderators to the commission, but it’s not likely the commission will submit to pressure from either campaign party.
Already, the commission has pushed back at the Trump campaign’s request that a debate be scheduled in September before early voting begins in some states.
‘If the campaigns agree they want another debate, we will take a look at that and see if that will work,’ a source told Axios.
But such a scheduling change won’t go forward unless Biden’s team co-signs the agreement.
‘It would be nice if people understood how complicated this is,’ the source added.
The upcoming presidential debates will prove vital for Trump to secure his base, and attempt to sway others, before votes are cast in November.
His standing with Americans have taken in a hit in recent months with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, his fumbling response that was widely criticized and the emergence of Black Lives Matter protest nationwide.
In regards to the pandemic, politicians and citizens alike have chastised the Commander-in-Chief for initially downplaying the severity of the virus and placing individual states in charge of response plans.
His most recent criticisms come from his endorsement of the medically unproven COVID-19 ‘cure’ hydroxychloroquine.
Last month, social media giants Facebook, Twitter and YouTube removed a video shared by Trump that promotes unproven claims that the drug hydroxychloroquine can treat or cure the virus.
President Trump has continued to promote hydroxychloroquine as a cure for COVID-19, despite it being unproven to do so
There is no current medically-proven cure for the virus.
Hydroxychloroquine was first introduced to the public as a potential ‘game-changer’ by Trump in March – just as the virus overtook the country with quickly rising cases and deaths.
In addition touting the drug while it was still unproven, Trump faced backlash over a series of incorrect statements he made in reference to it.
Trump tried to boost hydroxychloroquine’s popularity by saying it was a popular choice among medical staff and responders on the front lines.
‘You’d be surprised at how many people are taking it, especially the frontline workers, he said.
The next day he claimed the drug ‘is used by thousands and thousands of frontline workers.’
Dr. Bob Wachter, the chair of the University of California, San Francisco’s department of medicine, told Factcheck.org that he didn’t know ‘any clinician’ taking hydroxychloroquine to prevent the coronavirus.
Currently, the United States COVID-19 count has topped five million and deaths have surpassed 162,000.