Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi says House members would not vote on spending bill topline higher than Senate's McConnell privately urged GOP senators to oppose debt ceiling hike On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default 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 BidenHouse clears bill to provide veterans with cost-of-living adjustment On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default To reduce poverty, stop burdening the poor: What Joe Manchin gets wrong about the child tax credit MORE shouldn't "legitimize" a discussion with President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump takes shot at new GOP candidate in Ohio over Cleveland nickname GOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default 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.
“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 ClintonGOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 Clinton lawyer's indictment reveals 'bag of tricks' Attorney charged in Durham investigation pleads not guilty 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.”
Speaker Pelosi says that she does not think there should be any presidential debates between Pres. Trump and Joe Biden:— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 27, 2020
“I wouldn't legitimize a conversation with [Pres. Trump] nor a debate in terms of the presidency of the United States"https://t.co/XjbN1GG9vz pic.twitter.com/pvH1E8v5mb
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.
Pelosi had hinted that she didn't think Biden should debate Trump during an interview last week with David AxelrodDavid AxelrodThe Memo: Democrats vent frustration with Biden on Afghanistan Psaki dismisses Axelrod's criticism of Biden on Afghanistan Axelrod says Biden should have 'embraced' failures of Afghanistan exit MORE on his podcast.
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."
"But look, I think everybody knows this man has a somewhat pathological tendency not to tell the truth," he added.
Joe Biden reacts to Speaker Pelosi's suggestion that Biden not "legitimize a conversation with" President Trump by debating him:— MSNBC (@MSNBC) August 27, 2020
"I'm gonna debate him ... I'm gonna be a fact-checker on the floor while I'm debating him." pic.twitter.com/RJr7G10IuC
Several other Democratic leaders have said Biden shouldn’t fear debating Trump before the election, including Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenDemocrats confront 'Rubik's cube on steroids' The Trojan Horse of protectionism Federal Reserve officials' stock trading sparks ethics review 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.
“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 SandersPelosi says House members would not vote on spending bill topline higher than Senate's Groups push lawmakers to use defense bill to end support for Saudis in Yemen civil war Congress must address the looming debt crisis MORE (I-Vt.) in March.