Jason Miller, an adviser to President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump defends indicted GOP congressman House to vote Thursday on holding Bannon in contempt Youngkin calls for investigation into Loudoun County School Board amid sexual assault allegations MORE’s reelection campaign, said in an interview published Friday evening that Joe BidenJoe BidenWhite House: Window for finalizing sweeping budget package 'closing' Jayapal says tuition-free community college 'probably won't' be in spending plan Jan. 6 panel votes to hold Bannon in contempt MORE is “actually a very good debater,” appearing to run counter to the GOP’s confidence that the former vice president would hand Trump an embarrassing gaffe that could spark a negative news cycle.
“Joe Biden is actually a very good debater. He doesn’t have as many gaffes as he does in his everyday interviews,” Miller told The Washington Post. “I would make the argument that Joe Biden would even be the favorite in the debates since he’s been doing them for 47 years.”
The Trump campaign and its Republican allies have been eager to alter a news cycle that has focused on the inability to push a coronavirus relief package through Congress and the president’s most recent controversial remarks and have floated the idea that a televised debate could be just the kind of event they need.
Biden has a long history of making offhand comments that ultimately force him to backtrack, including recently when he implied the Hispanic community was more diverse than the Black community.
The GOP is hopeful that a similar mistake would be made in a debate watched by millions of Americans. Trump’s campaign is so eager to debate Biden that it asked the Commission on Presidential Debates to either add another debate to the three already scheduled or move the last one up on the calendar to ensure that at least one match-up is aired before early voting begins.
The Commission ultimately rejected the request.
While Miller noted that Biden is a strong debater, he also said the former vice president’s campaign may be wary of the risk of a gaffe and could limit his appearances with Trump.
“I would be highly surprised if Joe Biden actually went through with all three debates,” he said. “I think their strategy will be to show up to one, show that he is able to function and then pull the plug on any additional debates.”
The first debate between Trump and Biden will take place on Sept. 29.