Trump campaign plays up Biden's skills ahead of Cleveland debate: 'He's actually quite good'

The Trump campaign attempted to play up the debate abilities of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden with the first debate in less than 10 days.

With the first presidential debates slated for Sept. 29 in Cleveland, the Trump campaign's communications director on Monday told Fox News that the former vice president "knows his way" around the debate stage after 47 years in politics.

"Joe Biden has been a Washington politician for 47 years, he spent decades in the Senate where all they do is debate, he was vice president twice, and debated on the national stage in each of those races, and did very well," Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said in an appearance on "Fox & Friends First."

"In the Democrat primaries, he debated a whole crowd of opponents, 11 times, and he won," Murtaugh noted. "He bested two dozen Democrat challengers."

Biden "knows his way around the debate stage," Murtaugh later said. "He knows how to do it. He's actually quite good. That's the Joe Biden we expect to see on debate night. ... We have to be prepared for the tuned-in Joe Biden."

President Trump also said he expects Biden to perform well because he's a "professional" and "can debate." 

"I don't know if he's all there, but I think he's a professional," Trump said in a phone call later on Monday on "Fox & Friends."

"I have to assume that he is a professional and that he can debate," Trump said, adding he believes Biden "is going to do great."

Trump has previously said he thought Biden was "incompetent" in the early Democratic primary debates and called for Biden to be drug tested before the first presidential debate, citing Biden's performance in a one-on-one debate with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in March.

"We are going to call for a drug test," Trump told the Washington Examiner on Aug. 26. "I don't know how he could have been so incompetent in his debate performances and then all of a sudden be OK against Bernie Sanders."

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace will moderate the Sept. 29 debate in Cleveland.