Post Editorial Board
Looks like the Commission on Presidential Debates has joined CNN et al. in the tank for Joe Biden: Its bid to dictate a new, virtual format for the next Biden-Trump faceoff was a blatant gift to a candidate who never wants to stray far from his basement.
This, when it had ample safe ways to put on an in-person, distanced event — as on Wednesday night, with the vice presidential candidates spaced 12 feet apart.
The commission didn’t even consult the campaigns before announcing early Thursday that the Oct. 15 town hall would go virtual, with Biden and President Trump “screening in” to chat with voters gathered in Miami.
Trump nixed it: “No, I’m not going to waste my time in a virtual debate,” he told Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo in a nearly hourlong interview. “That’s not what debating is all about.”
He’s right: Americans should see candidates off the cuff, responding to difficult questions. Biden, after all, has plainly been reading scripts even at “live” remote events for weeks now. It’d be easy for his aides to slip him talking points outside the camera’s view — though he’d need to avoid reading things like “topline message,” as he did in answering one reporter’s foreign-policy question.
The CPD says it’s worried about safety, but Oct. 15 is (for Trump) well past the 10 days the CDC advises quarantining after COVID-19 symptoms appear. Alternately, the commission could’ve discussed Trump’s offer to move the final two debates back a week.
Instead, Biden gets yet another infomercial: ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos (a former Bill Clinton aide!) will moderate a town hall for Biden on Oct. 15, in Philadelphia, not virtually. Will the audience be stacked again?