Pelosi Doesn’t Think Biden Should ‘Dignify’ A Debate With Trump

UNITED STATES - JUNE 04: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., conducts a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center on Thursday, June 4, 2020. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) conducts a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center on Thursday, June 4, 2020. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
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August 27, 2020 1:42 p.m.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Thursday said that she doesn’t think Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden should “dignify” a debate with President Donald Trump ahead of the November election.

“I don’t think there should be any debates,” Pelosi said in a news conference on Thursday. “I do not think the President of the United States has comported himself in a way that has any association with the truth, evidence, data, and facts. I wouldn’t legitimize a conversation with him, nor a debate in terms of the presidency of the United States.”

Pelosi’s scathing comments come as President Trump’s campaign has made the debates a key issue and made repeated efforts to influence the timing and makeup of this fall’s presidential debates, even providing a list of recommended moderators. Those requests have been denied, with both the independent debate commission and the Biden campaign disinterested in changing direction.

The first of three presidential debates is scheduled to take place in Cleveland, Ohio, on Sept. 29.

Looking back on 2016, Pelosi said that she found the behavior displayed by Trump  when he faced then-Democratic rival Hillary Clinton “disgraceful.”

“He will probably act in a way that is beneath the dignity of the presidency. He does that every day,” Pelosi said. She predicted that the President will also likely “belittle” the core intention of the debate.

“They are not supposed to be about skulduggery on the part of somebody who has no respect for the office he holds, much less the democratic process,” Pelosi said, citing his efforts to undermine the electoral process as evidence. 

“If Joe Biden asks you what I thought about it, I don’t think he should dignify that conversation with Donald Trump,” Pelosi said.

But when asked later on Thursday if he agreed with Pelosi’s assessment, Biden said he would honor his commitment to go forward with the debates.

“I will be a fact checker on the floor while I am debating him,” Biden told MSNBC, conceding Pelosi’s point that the President has not had a penchant for acknowledging facts. He added that Pelosi’s comments echo the words of some Republicans who have told him not to honor Trump in debate in the absence of a fact-checker.

“I think everybody knows this man has a somewhat pathological tendency not to tell the truth,” Biden said.

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