ALL CREDITS TO CNN – On Thursday night at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden will share a debate stage for the last time before the November 3 election.
Why only “maybe?” Well, several reasons actually.
1) Biden said last week Trump needed to test negative for Covid-19 on the day of the debate or he wouldn’t show up.
Here’s the exchange with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos at a town hall on Thursday:
Stephanopoulos: “Will you demand that President Trump take a test that day and that it be negative before you debate?”
Biden: “Yeah. By the way, before I came up here, I took another test, I’ve been taking it every day, the deep test, you know, the one, they go in both. Because I wanted to be able to — if I had not passed that test, I didn’t want to come here and not expose anybody.”
Trump, since contracting and then seemingly recovering from the coronavirus, has been very, very cagey about how often he is tested, how he is tested and when he tested negative after his initial diagnosis. As have the people closest to him.
Check out this back-and-forth on Sunday between CNN’s Jake Tapper and Lara Lea Trump, the President’ daughter-in-law and a member of his campaign:
Tapper: Does the President promise to release a negative test before he goes on stage with Joe Biden on Thursday, so that we can all see it?
L. Trump: Again, I — I don’t work in the White House.
Tapper: No, you work for the campaign.
L. Trump: You will have to ask the President that directly. He just had Covid. He has now been cleared of Covid, so that means he’s had a negative test. I’m sure he will have another one before he goes to this debate.
2) The Commission on Presidential Debates is set to meet Monday afternoon to discuss potential rule changes in advance of Thursday’s debate.
Here’s the thing: We just learned about this meeting on Monday morning! Less than three full days before the debate! Which is, well, kind of last-minute!
Remember that the day after the debacle of the first debate between Trump and Biden in late September, the Commission released a statement that said this: “Last night’s debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues.”
Which, yes, makes sense. After all, Trump’s incessant interrupting — of both Biden and debate moderator Chris Wallace — made the entire thing utterly unwatchable. (Worth noting: Trump’s debate performance also badly damaged the incumbent, as his poll numbers dropped even lower in its aftermath.)