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

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi: Trump Supreme Court pick 'threatens' Affordable Care Act Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for SCOTUS confirmation hearings before election Will Democrats attempt to pack the Supreme Court again? 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 BidenBiden says voters should choose who nominates Supreme Court justice Trump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Joe Biden should enact critical government reforms if he wins MORE shouldn't "legitimize" a discussion with President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says voters should choose who nominates Supreme Court justice Trump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Pelosi: Trump Supreme Court pick 'threatens' Affordable Care Act 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 ClintonThe Memo: Trump furor stokes fears of unrest Bloomberg rolls out M ad buy to boost Biden in Florida Hillicon Valley: Productivity, fatigue, cybersecurity emerge as top concerns amid pandemic | Facebook critics launch alternative oversight board | Google to temporarily bar election ads after polls close 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 AxelrodThe Memo: Warning signs flash for Trump on debates GOP hunts for leverage in revived COVID-19 talks Pelosi says there shouldn't be any debates between Biden and Trump 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 WarrenOvernight Defense: Appeals court revives House lawsuit against military funding for border wall | Dems push for limits on transferring military gear to police | Lawmakers ask for IG probe into Pentagon's use of COVID-19 funds On The Money: Half of states deplete funds for Trump's 0 unemployment expansion | EU appealing ruling in Apple tax case | House Democrats include more aid for airlines in coronavirus package Warren, Khanna request IG investigation into Pentagon's use of coronavirus funds 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 SandersTrump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Sanders tells Maher 'there will be a number of plans' to remove Trump if he loses Sirota reacts to report of harassment, doxing by Harris supporters MORE (I-Vt.) in March.

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