President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden are scheduled to have at least three televised debates before the 2020 presidential election on Tuesday, Nov. 3. Reporters Jonathan Swan and Alexi McCammond, in an article for Axios, discuss some of the things Trump and his Republican allies have been doing in preparation.
"Two weekends ago," Swan and McCammond report, "President Trump met with a group of his closest aides in the conference room of his Bedminster golf club to discuss a subject that has been weighing heavily on his mind: the three scheduled debates with Joe Biden . . . In the room with Trump were his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, campaign manager Bill Stepien, Senior Adviser Jason Miller and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who role-played Hillary Clinton in Trump's 2016 debate prep sessions."
Swan and McCammond note that according to Axios sources, that team "agreed to meet at least every ten days or so between now and the first debate . . . They resolved to keep the group very small. They may bring in different people based on subject matter expertise, but the group would remain five to six people to limit the potential for leaks."
The Axios journalists report that Christie is "likely" to "play Biden in debate rehearsals." Trump has said that in 2016, debating Christie's portrayal of Clinton in rehearsals was "harder" than debating Clinton herself during the actual debates.Trump has been trailing Biden in poll after poll, and Swan and McCammond report that the president is hoping that the debates will help him "close the polling gap."
A source described by Swan and McCammond as someone familiar with the Bedminster meeting told Axios, "I don't think (Trump) sees the debates as the last inflection points, but potentially the most important. I think he always thinks he can create an inflection point…. But he has verbalized how important these are going to be. He's said, 'We gotta win. The press will never give me the credit for it, but the people will.'"
Both Miller and Christie, according to the Axios reporters, have warned Trump that Biden is an experienced debater. Miller, in fact, told the Washington Post, "Joe Biden is actually a very good debater. He doesn't have as many gaffes as he does in his everyday interviews."