President Donald Trump is preparing to unleash vicious lines of attack in the first debate with Joe Biden, according to a new report, leaving some Democrats fearful that their nominee will be unprepared to counter.
The first of three presidential debates is scheduled to take place at 9pm ET in Cleveland, and promises to be a wild night of spirited arguments, and likely personal attacks.
While Biden has been in seclusion diligently preparing for the debate, Trump has largely eschewed traditional prep, instead pulling advisors aside on the fly to test out different lines of attack, according to a detailed report on Friday from the Washington Post.
Because Biden has largely avoided hostile settings in recent months, and reportedly plans to focus his arguments on how he would solve the coronavirus pandemic and improve the economy, some of his allies fear he may be unprepared to face vicious personal attacks on Tuesday.
‘It’s like training for a knife fight and somebody is getting an Uzi,’ one Democratic congressional aide lamented to the newspaper.
President Donald Trump is preparing to unleash vicious lines of attack in the first debate with Joe Biden , according to a new report
Trump has already vowed to bring up Biden’s son Hunter (with him above), the subject of a recent report from Republican senators, which claimed he ‘cashed in’ on his father’s position
Trump has already vowed to bring up Biden’s son Hunter, the subject of a recent report from Republican senators, which claimed he ‘cashed in’ on his father’s position by joining the board of a Ukrainian gas company.
‘I think it will be brought up in the debate,’ Trump said at a recent rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, shouting, ‘Where is Hunter?’
The Biden campaign has slammed the claims against Hunter as ‘a long-disproven, hardcore rightwing conspiracy theory’. Trump was impeached for pressuring Ukraine to investigate corruption claims against the Biden family, before being acquitted in the Senate.
On the campaign trail Biden has exploded at voters who bring up allegations against his son, telling one in Iowa: ‘You’re a d**n liar, man. That’s not true.’
It has led some Biden confidants to fear that the Democrat could become flustered or loose his cool if Trump pursues the Hunter angle during the debates.
‘When you go at his family, he becomes hotter than hell, which is part of the thing I worry about,’ John Morgan, a Florida trial lawyer and major Biden donor, told the Post. ‘I think what Biden has to be careful about is not letting his Irish temper blow when that happens.’
Biden (seen on Friday) has been in seclusion diligently preparing for the debate. His advisors say he should be prepared for vicious personal attacks during the debate
Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates blasted Trump over his presumed plans to bring up Hunter in the debate.
‘For Donald Trump to demonstrate that the only case he can make for himself is to lash out at Joe Biden’s children would be the ultimate admission that his presidency is a weak, pathetic failure,’ Bates told the Post.
Biden’s friends and advisers are urging him not to get dragged into exchanging ugly personal attacks with Trump.
‘There is an old saying in debate circles: When you get down in the mud and wrestle with a pig, the pig has fun and you get covered in mud,’ Senator Christopher A. Coons, a Delaware Democrat and close Biden confidant, told the Post. ‘And the word that is typically used is not ‘mud.’ ‘
‘I hope I don’t get baited into getting into a brawl with this guy,’ Biden said at a virtual fundraiser this month. He added, ‘It’s going to be hard, because I predict he’s going to be shouting’ and interrupting.
The Biden camp is counting on their candidate’s decades of experience in the Senate, including countless hours of floor debate, to help him outwit Trump on Tuesday.
Trump himself has conceded that Biden has deep experience, but is hoping that Biden will become flustered or misspeak during the debate.
‘Look, I think he’s a professional,’ Trump said earlier this week in a call-in interview with Fox & Friends when asked about the upcoming debate. ‘I don’t know if he’s all there but I think he’s a professional… and that he can debate.’
‘I have to assume he’s going to do great — because he’s been there 47 years he’s been in the public service. A long time,’ Trump added.
Former White House counsel Bob Bauer (center) is reportedly standing in for Trump in Biden’s debate prep
Trump is seen during a 2016 presidential debate with Hillary Clinton. Trump himself has conceded that Biden has deep debate experience from his years in the Senate
Previously, Trump has also questioned Biden’s mental acuity, and even, perhaps facetiously, called for a drug test prior to the debates to rule out any performance enhancing drugs.
‘People will finally realize Biden is just not there,’ one Trump advisor told the Post of Tuesday’s debate.
Privately, some Trump allies fret that he will be unprepared for the debate, given that he is used to be surrounded by underlings who rarely openly challenge him, and his distaste for traditional prep.
‘The president’s view is: He’s been president for four years, he’s been in training every day,’ one ally told the Post. ‘He thinks he doesn’t need any prep.’
Former White House counsel Bob Bauer is standing in for Trump in Biden’s debate prep, the Post reported. Bauer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
‘We take Joe Biden very seriously,’ said Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh. ‘He’s had decades in the Senate where all he does is debate.’
‘The bar for Biden is very low. The expectations are low. So he doesn’t have to do much to come out looking good,’ Newsmax Chairman Christopher Ruddy, a close friend of Trump’s, told the newspaper. ‘The president just goes out there and says whatever is on his mind. It could get pretty wild.’