Pelosi made the comment at her weekly news conference, unprompted, and her advice was not in response to a question about debates. Pelosi is the latest high-profile Democrat to offer a major piece of advice to the former vice president. Earlier this week, former 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton said Biden shouldn’t concede the race under any circumstances. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was asked to apologize for the delay in coronavirus, suggested Thursday that former Vice President Joe Bidencancel his three scheduled debates with President Trump because the commander-in-chief would “belittle” the forum and engage in “skullduggery.”
Hillary Clinton About Debates: Watch
“I don’t think that there should be any debates,” Pelosi said out of the blue at a news conference at the Capitol, saying Nancy Pelosi doesn’t want the debates to be “an exercise in skullduggery. I wouldn’t legitimize a conversation with him, nor a debate in terms of the presidency of the United States. Now I know that the Biden campaign thinks in a different way about this.”
Michael Ahrens, communications director for the Republican National Committee, said Democrats are advising Biden to not debate, not to leave the basement and not to concede. “Odd way to project confidence in your nominee,” he tweeted.
Republicans said Nancy Pelosi’s remarks were another sign that Democrats are trying to hide Biden.
Nancy Pelosi also cited Trump’s “disgraceful” performance at the 2016 debate when he was “stalking” Clinton as one reason Biden should break tradition and sit out the debates.
Debates have been an issue of contention for weeks as the Trump campaign has pushed for an additional early debate to coincide with early voting that will be underway in states. And the idea of abandoning debates all together made headlines after a New York Times op-ed earlier this August argued that presidential debates should be “scrapped,” with critics suggesting that it’s the latest effort by the media to prevent Biden from debating Trump.