Biden proposes live fact checkers for debates with Trump
Joe Biden mused Wednesday that he would like his three upcoming debates with Donald Trump to include a real-time fact-check of both candidates’ statements, although he admitted it wasn’t likely to happen.
At an event in Wilmington, Del., at which he blamed the Trump administration’s ineffectual handling of the coronavirus pandemic for the chaos surrounding the start of the school year, Biden was asked how he was preparing to debate the president.
“I’ve begun to prepare by going over what the president has said and the multiple lies he has told,” he responded. “What I’d love to have is a crawler at the bottom of the screen, a fact checker, you know, when we speak. If we really wanted to do something, I think that would make a great, great debate if everything both of us said was instantly fact-checked by an agreed-to group of people.”
Biden conceded that his idea “probably wouldn’t get very far.”
Earlier on Wednesday, the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates announced the moderators for the three scheduled presidential debates. Chris Wallace of Fox News will moderate the Sept. 29 debate in Cleveland, C-SPAN’s Steve Scully will ask the candidates questions at the Oct. 15 town meeting in Miami and NBC’s Kristen Welker will be in the moderator’s chair for the Oct. 22 debate in Nashville.
The vice presidential debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris will take place Oct. 7 in Salt Lake City, with Susan Page of USA Today moderating.
“I’m looking forward to debating the president, and I’m going to lay out as clearly as I can what I think we have to do to bring this country back and build it back better,” Biden said.
Biden, who has done limited campaigning thus far and has largely avoided press conferences, took questions from reporters for 30 minutes. He denounced the administration’s handling of the coronavirus.
“If President Trump and his administration had done their jobs early on with this crisis, American schools would be open and they’d be open safely,” he said. “Instead, American families across this country are paying the price for his failures.”
Trump traveled on Wednesday to North Carolina, where he held an event with hundreds of supporters where social distancing guidelines were largely disregarded. He mocked Biden, as he frequently has, for not campaigning more vigorously.
But two days after Trump toured Kenosha, Wis., and met with local officials in the city where rioting erupted following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, Biden will also visit Kenosha.
While Trump spent much of his roundtable in Kenosha on Tuesday going after “reckless far-left politicians” and the “violent mobs” he says they support, Biden said Wednesday that his “purpose in going” there was to “be a positive influence” and to “bring people together.”
“We have to heal. This is about making sure that we move forward,” he said.
Asked whether hitting the campaign trail was safe from the coronavirus, Biden again sought to contrast his message with that of the president.
“I would like to get out more, but I think a president has a responsibility to set examples, set the right example for how to get out,” Biden said. “Not go out and not wear a mask and not have large crowds of people standing next to one another without wearing a mask, not being a potential cauldron for significant outbreaks of COVID.”
As of Wednesday, more than 185,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and more than 6 million cases have been recorded in the U.S.
Pressed to expound on his suggestion that a nationwide mask mandate was needed to slow the spread of the virus, Biden went right after skeptics who have bristled at the notion that those rules are somehow anti-American.
“When I find these folks talking about ‘my freedom,’ I talk about patriotism. Why do you wear a mask? To protect your neighbor. To keep someone else from getting sick and maybe dying. I call that patriotic,” Biden said. “This is the United States of America. Every generation has made sacrifices to help others in moments of crisis.”