Joe Biden Faces Calls to Skip Debates after Trump Inspires Far-Right, Undermines Election

The first presidential debate of the 2020 election is barely finished and there are already calls for former Vice President Joe Biden to skip the rest. Two more debates are scheduled before November 3.

Some prominent conservatives opposed to President Donald Trump argued on Tuesday that there should be no more debates after last night's event, calling it a "disgrace." During the debate, Trump told the far-right group Proud Boys to "stand back and stand by." Supporters of the group praised the comment on social media and shared a version of their logo with his words on it.

The president also claimed that the election is rigged, repeating his criticism of mail-in ballots as susceptible to mass voter fraud.

"There is fraud; they found them [ballots] in creeks, they found them with the name Trump in a wastepaper basket," he said. "This will be a fraud like you have never seen."

Trump struggled to directly condemn white supremacy at the debate and reiterated claims that the election will be fraudulent because of the use of mail-in ballots. But Biden's team has so far ruled out skipping debates.

"This is a disgrace, a low point in American debate history," said Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC's Morning Joe and a former Republican congressman.

"There is no reason, not one, that Joe Biden should participate in another debate," he tweeted.

Steve Schmidt, who worked on several Republican campaigns including the late Senator John McCain's 2008 presidential bid, also argued there should be no further debates.

"@JoeBiden is destroying @realDonaldTrump," Schmidt tweeted. "Trump is unhinged, sweating, angry and blustering. He is losing. He is falling apart. This debate is a disgrace. There should be no more. Let this be the closing argument."

Veteran conservative Bill Kristol published an op-ed in The Bulwark making the same argument. He is editor-at-large of the site and has been a strong critic of the president.

"There should be no more 'debates,'" Kristol wrote. "For the sake of the country, Joe Biden should refuse to appear again on the same stage as Donald Trump. Biden can have weekly or twice weekly town halls."

"But he should not put the nation through another ordeal like that," he said.

Biden's team have rejected skipping the remaining debates. Vice presidential candidate Senator Kamala Harris told CNN's Jake Tapper her running mate would not avoid debating Trump.

"Joe Biden's never going to refuse to talk to the American people and have any opportunity that he can to speak directly to American families and speak about the issues, speak the truth, and address the facts of where we are now, but also address the hopes and dreams of the American families and where we could be and Joe's got a plan for dealing with those hopes and aspirations as well," Harris said.

Biden senior campaign adviser Symone Sanders made the same point in an interview with MSNBC's Brian Williams during post-debate coverage.

"We're going to come back and do this again in Miami," Sanders said, referring to the next debate on October 16. That event will be a town hall.

"And Joe Biden is going to show up, and he's going to answer the people's questions in Miami. He's going to take questions from voters across the state of Florida about the most pressing issues facing them. Donald Trump, we all know what he's going to do," she said.

"I hope he's not going to belittle and berate voters in Florida, but you know what? You never know, Brian. But Joe Biden will be there to show you exactly what you can get post-November 3 if folks go to the polls and elect him as the next President of the United States."

Joe Biden and His Wife Jill Biden
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden wave to the audience after the first presidential debate against U.S. President Donald Trump at the Health Education Campus of Case Western Reserve University on September 29 in Cleveland, Ohio. Scott Olson/Getty Images