Democrats Nervous About Biden Debating Trump: ‘Think Twice About It’

Democrats are not enthusiastic about the prospects of President Joe Biden, 81, facing former President Donald Trump in presidential debates this fall.

The apprehension sheds light on fears about Biden’s diminished physical and mental abilities, as polling shows Americans worry about Biden’s decline:

  • Redfield & Wilton Strategies: Majority of Democrats are “concerned” about Biden’s ability.
  • YouGov: 55 percent say Biden’s health and age “severely” limit his ability to do the job.
  • NBC News: Most registered voters have “major” concerns about Biden’s age and health

“I would think twice about it,” said Senate Democrat Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) told the Hill about Biden potentially debating later this year. “I’ve been physically present at one of [Trump’s] debates with Hillary Clinton, and I watched him do outrageous things and say outrageous things. It’s just an opportunity for him to display his extremism.”

Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), a Biden ally, said Biden should be weary of debating Trump due to the former president’s ability to overcome establishment media bias. Biden should be careful about allowing Trump to air alleged “hateful, fascist remark,” Coons said.

“I was in the room for one of the debates in 2020 — Chris Wallace was the moderator. The former president in no way at all respected the rules or the tradition or decorum,” Coons told the Hill. “It was a disaster.” 

“The fact that former President Trump was unable to conduct himself in just a minimally reasonable way” during the debate “and that he’s refusing to debate any of his primary opponents this time would make a pretty strong case for not dignifying him as a candidate by sharing a debate stage,” Coons added.

James Carville, the architect of Bill Clinton’s election campaigns, said Biden might be better off not debating to avoid “damage.” On the other hand, Carville explained, if Trump wins the nomination, he will have “legitimacy” to demand a debate with Biden, who could agree to one debate event.

“It’s kind of expected of a presidential candidate,” Carville told the Hill. “If he gets the nomination, Republican primary voters will have given him legitimacy. I mean, we don’t hand it out like gummy bears or something.”

“Somebody’s going to take a poll, and 73 percent of the people will think there ought to be a debate,” he predicted. “You can do it or not do it as you see fit, but there are consequences to it,” he added.

The Commission on Presidential Debates scheduled three events for 2024 in Texas, Virginia, and Utah, Carville noted.

Neither Biden nor Trump committed to the debates.

Reports — Obama ‘Fears’ Trump Can Defeat Biden: ‘Dangerous Complacency’

Former President Barack Obama “fears” former President Donald Trump can defeat President Joe Biden in 2024 and believes he is “way too Zen,” “too complacent — and unimaginative,” according to recent reports by Axios and the Washington Post. 

The warning runs contrary to how many Biden allies perceive the likely rematch against Trump. Aides outlined to Axios four “articles of faith” of outside factors they claim will benefit Biden during the 2024 cycle: 

1. A calmer foreign policy chaos in 2024

2. An improving economy

3. $1 billion in future negative ads against Trump

4. The abortion issue favors Democrats

One reason Obama might worry about Biden losing the election is due to the president’s well documented temper and aides who are afraid to get “their heads bitten off” when confronting the president, sources told Axios.

Obama grew “animated” last month during a lunch with Biden while discussing his reelection campaign against Trump, three people familiar with the conversations told the Post:

During the lunch, Obama noted the success of his reelection campaign structure in 2012, when some of his top presidential aides, including David Axelrod and Jim Messina, left the White House to take charge of the reelection operation in Chicago. That is a sharp contrast from Biden’s approach of leaving his closest aides at the White House even though they are involved in all the key decisions made by the campaign.

Obama also recommended that Biden seek counsel from Obama’s own former campaign aides, which Biden officials say they have done, the people said.

Obama has been even more explicit with people close to Biden, suggesting the campaign needs to move aggressively as Trump appears poised to quickly wrap up the Republican nomination. 

His concerns about the campaign structure were not tied to a specific moment, but rather his belief that campaigns need to be agile in competitive races, the people said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential conversations.

Polling does not present a positive picture for the president:

FiveThirtyEight: Biden holds the worst net approval rating in history at this time in office.

WSJ: Only 23 percent of voters said Biden’s policies helped them.

CNN: Majority Say ‘No Chance’ They Would Vote for Joe Biden in 2024.

Yahoo/YouGov: Majority of Voters Say Joe Biden Committed Crime with Hunter Biden.