New York Times columnist: Biden should agree to debate Trump only if two conditions met
They all know he's damaged goods that ain't getting better. "Hide him!"
[Wash Examiner] Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden should only agree to debate President Trump if two conditions are met , the New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman said.

"I worry about Joe Biden debating Donald Trump," Friedman wrote in his column on Tuesday. "He should do it only under two conditions. Otherwise, he's giving Trump unfair advantages."

"First, Biden should declare that he will take part in a debate only if Trump releases his tax returns for 2016 through 2018," Friedman said. Second, Biden "should insist that a real-time fact-checking team approved by both candidates be hired by the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates."

"Debates always have ground rules," Friedman wrote. "Why can't telling the truth and equal transparency on taxes be conditions for this one?"Trump's reelection campaign is reportedly pushing for four debates before the November general election. Biden's campaign has agreed to three debates. They are currently scheduled for September 29, October 15, and October 22.

"Our position is straightforward and clear: Joe Biden will accept the Commission's debates, on the Commission's dates, under the Commission's established format and the Commission's independent choice of moderators," Biden's campaign manager wrote in a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates. "Donald Trump and Mike Pence should do the same. That is what every candidate for President and Vice President have done in modern times, Democrat and Republican alike."

The president, however, has attempted to paint the soon-to-be Democratic nominee as scared of going toe-to-toe with him on the debate stage.

"Now, he's already saying that he can't do debates because of COVID. Do you believe it? 'I can't do the debates because of COVID.' That was ‐ I just heard a little inkling of it two days ago. I said, 'Watch this one,'" Trump said during a Fox News town hall last month.

The University of Michigan, which was slated to host the October debate, announced on June 22 it would no longer host the event because of public health concerns.

"In consideration of the public health guidelines in our state as well as advice from our own experts ‐ we feel it is not feasible for us to safely host the presidential debate as planned," university president Mark Schlissel said in a statement.

Similarly, several pundits in conservative media and other critics of the former vice president have mocked him for "hiding in his basement" and not holding any in-person campaign events during the coronavirus pandemic.

Friedman praised Biden as a "role model" for staying inside his house during recent months as millions of people do the same to slow the spread of the virus.

"And with the coronavirus now spreading further, and Biden being a responsible individual and role model, it's likely that he won't be able to engage with any large groups of voters before Election Day. Therefore, the three scheduled televised debates, which will garner huge audiences, will carry more weight for him than ever," Friedman wrote. "Only if leading into the debate, American voters have a clear picture of Trump's tax returns alongside Biden's, and only if, coming out of the debate, they have a clear picture of who was telling the truth and who was not, will they be able to make a fair judgment between the two candidates."

Otherwise, the veteran journalist wrote, "Joe, stay in your basement."
Posted by: Frank G 2020-07-09