Joe Biden Will Debate Trump as Scheduled, Jill Biden Says, Dismisses Democrats Urging Him Not To

Dr. Jill Biden, the wife of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, said her husband will absolutely be at the scheduled debates with President Donald Trump this fall—rejecting the suggestion of some strategists who urged Biden not to give Trump the platform.

In an interview with Fox News' Dana Perino Tuesday, Jill Biden responded to several Democratic strategists and pundits who have for months suggested the former vice president not share a debate stage for their three scheduled face-offs this fall.

Biden said she had not even heard the recommendations from former White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart and others who advised her husband, "whatever you do, don't debate Trump." Several Biden supporters, and even some conservative critics of Trump, have urged Biden not to allow Trump to pick up steam as he did against Hillary Clinton in 2016 when the two met for several debates during that election cycle.

"Wondering if you can settle this for us: will the former vice president debate President Trump this fall?" Perino asked Dr. Biden Tuesday.

"Oh yes, he will. I think they've already - I think there's three debates they've decided on. So, yes. He will be there," Biden said, dismissing strategists like Lockhart by saying those individuals "will make up their own mind."

Lockhart, who was former President Bill Clinton's press secretary, said Trump will simply "repeat lies" in a debate against Biden and so the former vice president shouldn't give him the national platform to do so in their upcoming three scheduled debates. The first presidential debate between Biden and Trump is set for September 29 at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. The second debate is scheduled to take place at Miami's Arsht Center on October 15 and the final debate is set to occur October 22 at Belmont University in Nashville.

Several op-eds in The New York Times and The Washington Post have for months urged Biden to avoid taking the debate stage against Trump - something which has been roundly criticized by many pundits from both parties. Republicans and Trump supporters have pounced on the requests to avoid debating by accusing Democrats of trying to "hide" Biden until the November 3 general election.

Longtime Democratic strategist and former Hillary Clinton senior adviser Zac Petkanas was one of those pushing Biden to hold off.

"Biden shouldn't feel obligated to throw Trump a lifeline by granting him any debates at all. This is not a normal presidential election and Trump is not a legitimate candidate," Petkanas tweeted last week, expressing his "opinion that no one asked for."

Discussion and speculation over whether Biden would debate Trump began in June after the University of Michigan pulled out of hosting one of the debates over coronavirus concerns on campus. The University of Notre Dame followed suit a month later and also withdrew from hosting the event, but both debates were rescheduled.

Newsweek reached out to both the Biden and Trump campaigns for any additional remarks Tuesday afternoon, but they did not respond before publication.

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Dr. Jill Biden, the wife of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, said her husband will absolutely be at the scheduled debates with President Donald Trump this fall - rejecting the suggestion of some strategists who urged Biden not to give Trump the platform. Screenshot: Fox News | YouTube