Donald Trump Jr. mocked the left on Monday after The New York Times ran an op-ed calling for the presidential debates to be scrapped before President Trump has a chance to square off with presumed Democratic candidate Joe Biden.
“OMG they’re really going for it. There’s absolutely nothing the left will not do to protect Joe Biden and cover-up for all of his obvious flaws,” Trump Jr. tweeted to accompany a link to the op-ed.
Washingon-based author and political journalist Elizabeth Drew penned the piece headlined, “Let’s Scrap the Presidential Debates,” which claimed the events have become unrevealing quip contests. She wants to “scrap them altogether” and not because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“The debates have never made sense as a test for presidential leadership. In fact, one could argue that they reward precisely the opposite of what we want in a president. When we were serious about the presidency, we wanted intelligence, thoughtfulness, knowledge, empathy and, to be sure, likability. It should also go without saying, dignity,” Drew wrote.
“Yet the debates play an outsize role in campaigns and weigh more heavily on the verdict than their true value deserves,” Drew continued. “Over time, the debates came to resemble professional wrestling matches, and more substantive debates were widely panned in the press. Points went to snappy comebacks and one-liners. Witty remarks drew laughs from the audience and got repeated for days and remembered for years.”
Trump supporters have poked fun at the former vice president for conducting many of his interviews from home and rarely answering tough questions. The latest speculations about Biden’s overall health have resulted in theories that he could embarrass himself on a debate stage, while Trump has traditionally excelled in debates.
Drew claimed that her piece was not “written out of any concern that Donald Trump will prevail over Joe Biden in the debates,” as she noted “Biden has done just fine in a long string of such contests.”
She concluded: “There’s no reason not to throw the presidential debates on the trash heap of useless (at best) rituals that are no help in our making such a fateful decision.”
Drew's op-ed came after former Clinton White House press secretary Joe Lockhart urged Biden to skip debating Trump prior to the November election in a recent CNN op-ed.
“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.”
Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien said Monday that the president wants to schedule more debates against Biden and sooner.
Fox News’ Talia Kaplan contributed to this report.