The campaign for Democratic nominee Joe Biden has denied asking for additional breaks ahead of the first of three general election debates against President Donald Trump on Tuesday evening.
Kate Bedingfield, deputy campaign manager for the Biden campaign, disputed that such a request was made, and was dismissive of the Trump campaign’s request that Biden have his ears inspected for an earpiece prior to starting, reported Fox News.
“His staff seems concerned that he may not do well tonight and they’re already laying the groundwork for how they’re going to lie about why,” she said. “It is completely absurd. Of course, he’s not wearing an earpiece and we never asked for breaks.”
New York Post reporter Ebony Bowden, who early Tuesday cited a source as saying the Biden campaign originally agreed to the ear inspection, tweeted the Biden campaign’s break-request denial Tuesday afternoon.
The Biden campaign says this is false and has also denied reporting that they asked for breaks during the debate.
— Ebony Bowden (@ebonybowden) September 29, 2020
Fox News’ Pat Ward reported Tuesday afternoon that the Biden and Trump campaigns have been engaged in pre-debate negotiations concerning the details of the debate, including the third-party ear-piece inspection request and the debate-break request.
“The Trump campaign wants the Biden campaign to allow a third party to inspect the ears of the debaters for electronic devices or transmitters. The President has consented to this inspection, but Biden has not – so far,” tweeted Ward. “The Biden campaign requested two breaks (one every thirty minutes) during tonight’s program, which was denied by their Trump counterparts, in negotiations over the last several weeks.”
The Trump campaign wants the Biden campaign to allow a third party to inspect the ears of the debaters for electronic devices or transmitters. The President has consented to this inspection, but Biden has not – so far. (2/3)
— Pat Ward (@WardDPatrick) September 29, 2020
Tim Murtaugh, communications director for the Trump campaign, released a statement Tuesday saying that “Biden’s handlers” agreed to the ear-piece inspection several days ago but have since “abruptly reversed themselves.”
Joe Biden’s handlers several days ago agreed to a pre-debate inspection for electronic earpieces but today abruptly reversed themselves & declined. Biden asked for multiple breaks during the debate, which President Trump doesn’t need, so we have rejected that request.
— Tim Murtaugh – Download the Trump 2020 app today! (@TimMurtaugh) September 29, 2020
According to The Washington Post’s Matt Viser, Symone Sanders, senior advisor to the Democratic nominee, declined to clarify whether an ear-piece inspection agreement had been made, replying: “This is so ridiculous. This is absolutely ridiculous.”
Asked to clarify whether Biden’s campaign had initially agreed to have candidates inspected for earpieces before the debate, @SymoneDSanders: “This is so ridiculous. This is absolutely ridiculous”
— Matt Viser (@mviser) September 29, 2020
The first presidential debate, which will begin at 9:00pm EST, will be moderated by Fox News’ Chris Wallace. The event will run an hour-and-a-half long without commercial breaks, and will give equal time to six distinct topics: Biden and Trump’s records, the Supreme Court, COVID-19, the economy, race and violence in U.S. cities, and the integrity of the election.