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Pelosi says there shouldn't be any debates between Biden and Trump

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiIncreasingly active younger voters liberalize US electorate Sunday shows preview: House GOP removes Cheney from leadership position; CDC issues new guidance for fully vaccinated Americans The Memo: Lawmakers on edge after Greene's spat with Ocasio-Cortez MORE (D-Calif.) said Thursday she doesn’t think there should be any presidential debates ahead of the November election, arguing Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenWarren calls for US to support ceasefire between Israel and Hamas UN secretary general 'deeply disturbed' by Israeli strike on high rise that housed media outlets Nation's largest nurses union condemns new CDC guidance on masks MORE shouldn't "legitimize" a discussion with President TrumpDonald TrumpSunday shows preview: House GOP removes Cheney from leadership position; CDC issues new guidance for fully vaccinated Americans Navajo Nation president on Arizona's new voting restrictions: An 'assault' on our rights The Memo: Lawmakers on edge after Greene's spat with Ocasio-Cortez MORE.

“I don’t think that there should be any debates,” Pelosi told reporters. “I do not think that the president of the United States has comported himself in a way that anybody has any association with truth, evidence, data and facts.”

“I wouldn’t legitimize a conversation with him nor a debate in terms of the presidency of the United States,” she added. 

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“I think that he’ll probably act in a way that is beneath the dignity of the presidency,” she said, citing what she called his “disgraceful” actions during the 2016 debates with former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonCongress won't end the wars, so states must Democrats say it's up to GOP to stop Trump 2024 Hillary Clinton to speak at Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders summit MORE

“He does that every day,” she added. “But I think he will also belittle what the debates are supposed to be about.”

Instead, Pelosi proposed that the candidates take separate stages and answer questions about their policies in a “conversation with the American people” instead of “an exercise in skulduggery.” 

But she acknowledged that the Biden campaign “thinks in a different way about this.”

The Speaker's remarks come as some within the Democratic Party have said Biden shouldn't participate in debates with Trump, pointing to the polling advantage Biden has over the president. 

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Pelosi had hinted that she didn't think Biden should debate Trump during an interview last week with David AxelrodDavid AxelrodSally Yates: I never thought that I'd be saying, 'Yeah, go Liz Cheney' Symone Sanders 'hurt' at being passed over for press secretary: report Jen Psaki says the quiet part out loud about Joe Biden MORE on his podcast.

"My view, I wouldn't even debate Trump because unless you have a lie detector, or a truth teller," she told "The Axe Files," adding that Biden "has said he will, and that's great."
 
She also alleged the press have "enabled a lot of Trump to happen."
 
"Remember when he was stalking Hillary Clinton during the debate," she said. "Why wouldn't the press have said go back to your place? Why did they let that happen?" 

The Biden campaign has dismissed advice to skip the debates, with a spokesman saying earlier this month that he looked forward to debating the president. 

Biden on Thursday also  addressed the Speaker's comments on MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports," confirming that he will debate Trump.

"I'm gonna debate him," he said. "I'm gonna be a fact-checker on the floor while I'm debating him."

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"But look, I think everybody knows this man has a somewhat pathological tendency not to tell the truth," he added.

Several other Democratic leaders have said Biden shouldn’t fear debating Trump before the election, including Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren calls for US to support ceasefire between Israel and Hamas Sanders: Netanyahu has cultivated 'racist nationalism' Tensions mount among Democrats over US-Israel policy MORE (D-Mass.). 

“We’ve had presidential debates for a long time now, and it’s been a way for a lot of people around the nation to be able to see the candidates in action,” Warren said.

Trump and his campaign have sought to cast doubt on Biden's mental fitness, emphasizing his past verbal gaffes, and have pushed for more debates and for them to take place sooner.
 
Biden himself said it is a "legitimate question" to ask about the mental fitness of any candidate over the age of 70, while dismissing Trump's attacks. 

“The only thing I can say to the American people ... watch me,” Biden said in a recent interview with ABC News.

The president also requested the candidates take drug tests before the first debate against Biden in Cleveland on Sept. 29, suggesting that drugs had improved the former vice president's debate performance against Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWarren calls for US to support ceasefire between Israel and Hamas Prominent Muslim group to boycott White House Eid celebration over stance on Israel-Gaza violence Biden speaks with Israel's Netanyahu again amid ramped-up strikes in Gaza MORE (I-Vt.) in March.

 
--This report was updated at 1:32 p.m.