Jimmy Fallon, the host of “The Tonight Show,” says there’s no need for President Trump and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden to square off in debates before the 2020 election.
“Oh my God, we’re debating about the debates? They haven’t even started; I’m already exhausted,” Fallon said.
“At this point, who even needs debates? Who is undecided? Who’s tuning in like, ‘I want to see what this Donald Trump guy is all about.’ Then I’ll make my mind up. I need at least three debates. Haven’t figured out who I’m going for yet. Then once I do, after the third debate, maybe the fourth one, then I’ll — then I’ll listen,'” Fallon said, according to Grabien.
Joe Lockhart, a former press secretary for Bill Clinton, was among the first to say that Biden — who has already agreed to appear at the three debates that run from Sept. 29 to Oct. 22 — shouldn’t show up.
“Whatever you do, don’t debate Trump,” the CNN contributor wrote last week in an op-ed piece for the liberal cable news site. “Trump has made more than 20,000 misleading or false statements according to the Washington Post. It’s a fool’s errand to enter the ring with someone who can’t follow the rules or the truth. Biden will undoubtedly take heat from Republicans and the media for skipping the debates. But it’s worth the risk as trying to debate someone incapable of telling the truth is an impossible contest to win.”
Zac Petkanas, a former Hillary Clinton senior adviser, wrote on Twitter last week that Biden can skip the debates because President Trump is not a “legitimate candidate,” and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman said last month that Biden should debate Trump only if the president releases his tax returns and agrees to a real-time fact-check by an independent group during the debates.
“Biden has been dogged by boneheaded issues of plagiarism in his career, but nothing compared to Trump’s daily fire hose of dishonesty, which has no rival in U.S. presidential history. That’s why it’s so important to insist that the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates hire independent fact-checkers who, after the two candidates give their closing arguments — but before the debate goes off the air — present a rundown of any statements that were false or only partly true,” Friedman wrote.
Then there was Times writer Elizabeth Drew, who penned a piece last week headlined, “Let’s Scrap the Presidential Debates.”
“Nervous managers of the scheduled 2020 presidential debates are shuffling the logistics and locations to deal with the threat of the coronavirus. But here’s a better idea: Scrap them altogether. And not for health reasons,” Drew wrote. “The debates have never made sense as a test for presidential leadership. In fact, one could argue that they reward precisely the opposite of what we want in a president.”
“When we were serious about the presidency, we wanted intelligence, thoughtfulness, knowledge, empathy and, to be sure, likability. It should also go without saying, dignity. Yet the debates play an outsize role in campaigns and weigh more heavily on the verdict than their true value deserves,” Drew added.
Newsweek also published a piece this week, headlined, “Supporters Urge Joe Biden Not to Debate Trump, Applaud Hosts for Canceling Over COVID-19 Concerns.”