President Donald Trump is planning on live-tweeting during the first round of 2020 Democratic primary debates, according to The Wall Street Journal, providing running commentary as his potential opponents tear each other to shreds on the debate stage.
The move was, apparently, controversial among Trump's aides, with some strategists claiming that it would be better for the president if the Democrats, who will debate in two shifts over two nights, were allowed to attack each other without the president as a distraction.
WSJ says, though, that the president wants to make himself a "tangible" presence in the debate, and refuses to allow Democrats to discuss amongst themselves how they'll defeat him without being directly challenged.
Trump's closest advisors remain opposed to the plan, The Hill adds, partly because Trump live-tweeting the debates, "Mystery Science Theater 3000"-style, will make him the focus of the night, and partly because what Trump chooses on his own to respond to might give Democrats some insight into what the president thinks are the most important issues at play in the 2020 election — and what attacks sting him the worst.
Advisors are also concerned that Trump may help to elevate candidates he thinks are a real threat, like former Vice President Joe Biden, over candidates he knows to ignore.
"Political advisers have long wanted Mr. Trump to tap the breaks on attacking Democratic presidential rivals, concerned that the president’s reactions would elevate contenders and provide some shield from what otherwise could be a bruising primary battle. Mr. Trump’s broadsides against former Vice President Joe Biden, for example, have coincided with polls that increasingly show voters view Mr. Biden as the most likely to deny the president a second term," the WSJ reports.
The same is true for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Although she began her campaign running well behind both Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Biden, the president's relentless focus on her agenda and commentary may have, at least in part, allowed her to surge forward. Warren is now running ahead of Sanders in most early primary states and is closing in on Joe Biden.
The Trump campaign refused to comment to WSJ, but rumor has it, the plan is "fluid" and will depend heavily on what the president feels like doing. It could be a game-time decision.
If he does decide to live-tweet the event (or, even one night of the two-night debate) Trump, at least, won't be at a loss for material. There are two dozen competitors in the "pared-down" field of Democratic candidates, and while some are serious, others, like lifestyle guru and "spiritualist" Marianne Williamson, Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-IA), and New York City mayor Bill de Blasio seem to be included largely for comic relief.
Hopefully, Trump doesn't reserve his best material just for "Pocahontas," "Sleepy Creepy Joe," and "Crazy Bernie."
President Donald Trump will kick off his own 2020 campaign Tuesday evening at a rally in Orlando, Florida. There, in front of an estimated crowd of 100,000 to 20,000 inside Amway Arena in Orlando and an additional 80,000 watching as the event is live-streamed to a series of massive television screens set up outside the venue — Trump is expected to reveal his 2020 campaign slogan and to take the first shots at his potential rivals.