President Donald Trump said during a Minnesota campaign event that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden was ready to cancel the two remaining presidential debates.
Trump’s comments the day after his first presidential debate with Biden, which many criticized as chaotic and lacking in substantive policy discussions. Trump offered no proof for his debate cancellation allegations, which Biden’s campaign had already repudiated.
“Joe Biden is too weak to lead this country,” Trump said to a crowd at Duluth International Airport. “You know Biden lost badly when his supporters are saying he should cancel the rest of the debates. Now I understand he’s canceling the rest of the debates. Let’s see what happens. I think that’s not gonna be a good move for him.”
Biden’s campaign said that Biden has no intention of canceling the debates. “I don’t know how many different ways we can say it,” Biden deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said in a press call after the Tuesday debate. “Yes, we are going to do the debates.”
Biden’s running mate California Senator Kamala Harris said in a Tuesday interview with CNN that Biden would go through with the scheduled debates.
“Joe Biden’s never going to refuse to talk to the American people and have any opportunity that he can to speak directly to American families and speak about the issues, speak the truth, and address the facts of where we are now, but also address the hopes and dreams of the American families and where we could be and Joe’s got a plan for dealing with those hopes and aspirations as well,” Harris said.
Newsweek reached out to the Biden campaign for further comment.
Trump and Biden’s first scheduled debate was marked by moments of confusion. The two candidates often spoke over each other, sometimes raising their voices, leaving debate moderator Chris Wallace struggling to restore order.
Trump expressed frustration with Wallace’s attempts to guide the debate. “I guess I’m debating you, not [Biden],” Trump told Wallace.
On Wednesday, the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) said it was looking at instituting new guidelines for upcoming debates.
During a Wednesday campaign stop, Biden criticized Trump’s debate performance. “I think it was just a national embarrassment,” Biden told reporters. “I just hope that the American people and those undecided voters try to determine what each of us has an answer for their concerns, and allows us to actually speak.”
“Last night’s debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues,” read a Wednesday statement from the CPD. “The CPD will be carefully considering the changes that it will adopt and will announce those measures shortly.”
In a Wednesday statement, Trump’s re-election campaign communication director Tim Murtaugh said the CPD was only considering changes because Biden lost the debate. “President Trump was the dominant force and now Joe Biden is trying to work the refs,” Murtaugh said. “They shouldn’t be moving the goal posts and changing the rules in the middle of the game.”
Trump and Biden are scheduled to meet again in October for the second presidential debate, expected to take place at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County in Miami, Florida.