Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden is “very much looking forward to debating Donald Trump,” the former vice president’s campaign deputy manager and communications director Kate Bedingfield told “America’s Newsroom” on Monday.
She added that the Biden campaign has already agreed to the upcoming three presidential debates, while the Trump campaign has not.
Bedingfield made the comments following the publication of an op-ed penned by former Clinton White House press secretary Joe Lockhart where he urged Biden to skip debating President Trump prior to the November election.
“Whatever you do, don’t debate Trump,” Lockhart wrote on CNN's website. “Trump has made more than 20,000 misleading or false statements, according to the Washington Post. It’s a fool’s errand to enter the ring with someone who can’t follow the rules or the truth. Biden will undoubtedly take heat from Republicans and the media for skipping the debates. But it’s worth the risk as trying to debate someone incapable of telling the truth is an impossible contest to win.”
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, responded to the op-ed on Sunday, “Basement strategy, part 2.”
Trump supporters have poked fun at the former vice president for conducting many of his interviews from home. Trump’s defenders have also speculated about Biden’s overall health and Biden’s refusal to debate could provide more cannon fodder.
When host Sandra Smith asked Bedingfield on Monday if it’s a consideration for Biden to skip the debates all together, she said, “We are very much looking forward to debating Donald Trump” and putting the candidates’ “contrasts on display.”
“I would say there is one candidate in this race who has agreed to three debates and that’s Joe Biden. The Trump campaign has actually not agreed yet to participate in the debates set by the presidential debate commission,” Bedingfield continued.
“We have agreed to those three debates. We will be there,” Bedingfield said. “We are waiting for the Trump campaign to agree as well and we are looking forward to them showing up because there are incredibly important differences here that Joe Biden is looking forward to highlighting on the debate stage.”
Smith then said, “The question was, is it a consideration to skip the debates?”
“And my answer is we are very much looking forward to debating Donald Trump,” Bedingfield responded.
Bedingfield had said in June that Biden would show up for the debates.
In a statement sent to Fox News, Trump 2020 campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh reacted to Bedingfield's comments saying, “Joe Biden is the only one who is being coy about showing up for debates and he is the only one getting public advice from his supporters to dodge them.”
In the Fox interview conducted a few hours before Bedingfield's appearance on the channel, Stepien said the president wants to schedule more debates against Biden and sooner.
He noted that the first debate is scheduled for Sept. 29 and warned that the date was too late.
“By that time 16 states will already have been voting,” Stepien said, referencing the fact that most Americans will be participating in mail-in voting amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“We don’t think it’s too much to ask that Americans get a look at the two candidates side-by-side before votes start being cast,” Murtaugh told Fox News on Monday afternoon.