I told my Media Buzz staff before the Vice Presidential Debate that it would only be the top story for a day or two and then we’d talk about Trump again.
I was wrong. It took less than 10 hours.
Announcing that he will skip the second debate next week, President Trump resumed his familiar place at the center of the media universe, shifting the limelight from Mike Pence and Kamala Harris.
TRUMP SAYS HE WILL NOT PARTICIPATE IN A VIRTUAL DEBATE After CPD Announces Changes: “I Won’t Waste My Time.”
Trump responded to a morning announcement by the Presidential Debate Committee that the October 15 playoff would take place virtually with him and Joe Biden in different locations in response to the president’s Covid-19 diagnosis.
Trump called Maria Bartiromo’s Fox Business Show and said, “I’m not going to waste my time on a virtual debate. That is not what debates are about. ““ Sitting behind a computer and having a debate ”is“ ridiculous ”.
I didn’t really think that was the end. Trump is famous for blowing up negotiations to put pressure on the other side. He does it in trade talks, and he just did it the other day, ending negotiations with House Democrats on a stimulus package to cushion the blow of the coronavirus. Within a day, he tweeted about what he wanted on the bill, and now the conversations have resumed.
In addition, the subsequent candidate always wants to debate, hoping to change the trajectory of the race. Trump loses 10 points in Fox News’ latest poll, and while that’s less of a margin than the CNN and NBC / Wall Street Journal polls, even the Republican Rasmussen poll gives Biden a 12-point lead.
Things seemed mixed up when the Biden campaign issued a statement that while the former vice president was ready to do the virtual town hall, he would now skip it altogether and make his own town hall. Hours earlier, Biden had refused to comment because Trump “is changing his mind every second”.
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Indeed, the Trump camp soon invalidated its “waste of time” comment by suggesting postponing the second and third debates to October 22nd and 29th, presumably beyond the period when it is contagious. As I said, Trump’s breaking off talks is often the start of negotiations.
In fact, I think a virtual town hall might have benefited Trump, who would likely have done it from the White House. It mitigates the comparison with Biden when they are on the same stage asking questions from the audience, which is more natural for the Democratic candidate after 47 years in politics. But Trump might believe that such a scenario makes it harder for him to interrupt and verbally abuse his opponent.
In the meantime, the president used the Bartiromo interview to declare his fellow campaigner the debate winner, which wasn’t surprising, but very personal.
“It was terrible, totally unlikely,” said Trump. “She is a communist” and a “monster”.
The commie comment is in line with Pence’s strategy of calling Harris, who is more liberal than Biden, the ideological heart of the ticket on issues like fracking and the Green New Deal.
However, some conservative commentators also described the senator as “unlikely,” in part due to her head shaking and smiling when Pence said things she disliked. At the same time, the “unlikely” label is almost always applied to women – Hillary and Elizabeth Warren come to mind – as opposed to men. And women of color have to walk a tightrope on this issue.
Whether or not you think the VP debate was basically a tie, it is fair to say that Kamala Harris held up against the more experienced pence for the most part. And the Biden campaign has to like that.