Facts First: Trump’s claim is entirely baseless. Biden has officially committed to participating in the three scheduled presidential debates — and Biden has repeatedly said he is eager to debate Trump even if the pandemic forces them to hold the event online rather than in person.
“Our position is straightforward and clear: Joe Biden will accept the Commission’s debates, on the Commission’s dates, under the Commission’s established format and the Commission’s independent choice of moderators,” Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon wrote. “Donald Trump and Mike Pence should do the same. That is what every candidate for President and Vice President have done in modern times, Democrat and Republican alike.”
O’Malley Dillon specifically asked the commission to confirm that it has plans for alternate arrangements in case “COVID control measures threaten to impact the conduct of the debates as planned.”
“There is no reason why Vice President Biden and President Trump cannot meet for debates with appropriate safety and social distancing measures (set by public health authorities) on the three dates the CPD has identified. Nothing should prevent the conduct of debates between Joe Biden and Donald Trump on these dates; again, we do not want to provide President Trump with any excuses for not debating,” O’Malley Dillon wrote.
“I can hardly wait to debate Donald Trump. Are you kidding?” Biden said at an April fundraiser, according to a pool report. He added, “Look, I’m ready to debate him. Zoom or Skype or Slack or Hangouts or in person, anytime, anywhere he wants.”
Trump’s stance on debates
Trump’s campaign has declined to immediately agree to the three debates scheduled by the commission. Instead, it has sought changes to the debate schedule.
The Times reported that the Trump campaign wants four debates rather than the planned three — and that Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani proposed to the commission that both campaigns get a role in choosing the moderators.
Trump declined on Thursday to make his own public push for a larger number of debates, explaining to Hannity that he did not want to declare he wants more than three because people would then say, “Oh, he feels he’s losing.”
“What I want to do is, I’ll do the three, and I’ll do any amount that they want. It doesn’t make any difference to me,” Trump said.