A former Clinton administration official is calling for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to refuse to debate President Donald Trump ahead of the November election.
His rationale: Doing so could cost Biden an easy win.
In his opinion piece, Lockhart blamed Trump for the coronavirus pandemic and its negative effects on the lives of Americans.
According to the former Clinton aide, the president “owns” all the deaths, joblessness and other issues created by the pandemic and government shutdowns, and is also responsible for answering for a perceived racial bias in law enforcement and in other American institutions.
Likewise, Lockhart claimed that kneeling during the national anthem by professional athletes in recent weeks is evidence that Trump “is losing the culture war, a war he started as his only path to getting reelected.”
He concluded that these issues make a victory in November virtually impossible for the president — unless Biden gives voters a reason to second-guess voting for the Democrat.
“Biden can lose this election. He’s run a very effective campaign to date, but now we’re getting to crunch time as many Americans are just starting to focus on the race,” Lockhart wrote in an appeal to the former vice president.
Among other roadmap items for Biden, Lockhart urged: “Whatever you do, don’t debate Trump.”
Rather than conceding that the 77-year-old Democrat might perform poorly in such a faceoff, however, he claimed the president would get the upper hand through dishonesty.
“Trump has now made more than 20,000 misleading or false statements according to the Washington Post,” Lockhart said. “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.”
The former Clinton aide joined CNN on Saturday to expand on his remarks.
Trump “will take the truth and destroy it, and Biden will be in the position of correcting him over and over and over again. I don’t think he should give him that platform.” pic.twitter.com/4EOR4Q9Um7
— CNN (@CNN) August 1, 2020
Lockhart is not the only high-profile Trump opponent to urge Biden to avoid debates.
Newsweek reported last week that some of those who have Biden’s ear are “urging him not to debate President Donald Trump.”
In a column last month headlined “Biden Should Not Debate Trump Unless,” Thomas L. Friedman of The New York Times urged the Democrat to avoid the debate stage unless certain conditions are met.
“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,” Elizabeth Drew wrote.
“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,” she wrote.
“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 concluded.
“Good. No need to go to any trouble to replace this debate. Indeed, I gather Biden’s already all booked up with zoom calls in those weeks. Also, the Jewish holidays. And the new Perry Mason series. Too bad!” Kristol tweeted.
Good. No need to go to any trouble to replace this debate. Indeed, I gather Biden’s already all booked up with zoom calls in those weeks. Also, the Jewish holidays. And the new Perry Mason series. Too bad!
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) July 27, 2020
Biden, for his part, said last month that he is eagerly awaiting a chance to debate the president.
“I can hardly wait,” he said last month of an opportunity to debate Trump, NBC News reported.
“I can hardly wait to deal with what he refers himself as a ‘stable genius,'” Biden said while campaigning in Pennsylvania. “I can hardly wait to debate him.”
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