Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump taunts Democrats in White House speech: ‘We’re here and they’re not’ McConnell: GOP-controlled Senate a ‘firewall’ against Pelosi agenda Ex-Democrat Van Drew speaks at GOP convention MORE (D-Calif.) said Thursday that she has confidence in Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenThe Memo: Trump reaches for optimism as weapon against Biden Five takeaways on GOP’s norm-breaking convention CNN uses new chyron to fact-check Trump’s convention speech MORE holding his own against President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Memo: Trump reaches for optimism as weapon against Biden Five takeaways on GOP’s norm-breaking convention Trump taunts Democrats in White House speech: ‘We’re here and they’re not’ MORE in debates this fall.
Her comments come hours after saying earlier in the day that she doesn’t think there should be any debate between the candidate and the incumbent ahead of the November election.
“I have every confidence in Joe Biden,” Pelosi said on MSNBC’s “The Beat with Ari Melber.” “Why I said he shouldn’t debate [Trump] has nothing to do with Joe Biden. Joe Biden will be great. He is great as a debater.”
Pelosi first said at a press conference in the Capitol on Thursday morning that she didn’t think Biden should “legitimize” a debate with Trump, who she said has not “comported himself in a way that anybody has any association with truth, evidence, data and facts.”
Biden confirmed during an appearance on MSNBC a short time later that he would participate in the debates against Trump.
“I’m gonna be a fact-checker on the floor while I’m debating him,” Biden told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell. “But look, I think everybody knows this man has a somewhat pathological tendency not to tell the truth.”
Pelosi suggested that each of the candidates should instead hold their own separate forums to discuss their policy proposals, but acknowledged that Biden is set on debating Trump.
“[Biden]’s ready to go and wants to get into that debate. My concern was the president has not shown any respect for the office he holds. And I don’t expect that he will have any respect for the debates for that office,” Pelosi said.
Trump and his campaign have sought to highlight Biden’s past verbal gaffes and called for more debates.
Trump this week also floated the idea of having the candidates take drug tests before the first debate Sept. 29, suggesting, without evidence, that Biden’s debate performance against Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersFive takeaways on GOP’s norm-breaking convention Trump attacks Biden hard in White House address accepting GOP nomination Pelosi: ‘I have every confidence’ in Biden against Trump in debates MORE (I-Vt.) during the Democratic primaries could have been a result of drugs.
“I don’t know how he could have been so incompetent in his debate performances and then all of a sudden be OK against Bernie,” Trump told the Washington Examiner. “My point is, if you go back and watch some of those numerous debates, he was so bad. He wasn’t even coherent. And against Bernie, he was. And we’re calling for a drug test.”
The Commission on Presidential Debates has scheduled three debates between Biden and Trump between Sept. 29 and Oct. 22. One debate between Vice President Pence and Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisTrump attacks Biden hard in White House address accepting GOP nomination Alice Johnson praises Trump for First Step Act, urges compassion for ‘forgotten faces’ Harris calls for officer involved in Jacob Blake shooting to be charged MORE (D-Calif.), is set for Oct. 7.
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