A Preview of the Highly Anticipated Trump-Biden Showdown

Former President Donald Trump will face off against incumbent Joe Biden Thursday night in a highly anticipated presidential debate, but experts are warning that the debate may be less “Trump vs. Biden” and more “Trump vs. the network.” The debate will be broadcast by CNN, long considered a left-wing network, and moderated by CNN anchors Jake Tapper and Dana Bash, both of whom have been openly critical of Trump in the past.

Tapper has called Trump a “nightmare,” a “disaster,” a liar, and “100% insane,” in addition to comparing the presumptive Republican presidential nominee to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. Bash, meanwhile, has accused Trump of “race-baiting,” sexism, and anti-Semitism. Both anchors have called Trump a threat to democracy, harshly criticized his policies, and faulted him for the actions of others during the events of January 6, 2021.

Trump campaign national press secretary Karoline Leavitt blasted CNN on Monday for what she predicted would be unfair treatment of the former president. Leavitt told CNN personality Kasie Hunt that Trump “is knowingly going into a hostile environment on this very network, on CNN, with debate moderators who have made their opinions about him very well known over the past eight years in their biased coverage of him.” Hunt responded by applauding Tapper and Bash as “professionals,” adding, “If you’re attacking the moderators, you’re usually losing.” When Leavitt pointed out that Tapper’s criticism of Trump in particular was well-documented, her microphone was cut and the interview was abruptly ended.

With both Tapper and Bash being accused of clear personal and political bias, CNN has defended its moderators, according to a memo obtained by The Hill. “Jake Tapper and Dana Bash are well respected veteran journalists who have covered politics for more than five decades combined,” the news outlet claimed. “They have extensive experience moderating major political debates, including CNN’s Republican Presidential Primary Debate this cycle. There are no two people better equipped to co-moderate a substantial and fact-based discussion and we look forward to the debate on June 27 in Atlanta.”

CNN CEO Mark Thompson has also attempted to distance himself from potential controversy surrounding the debate. In an interview with The New York Times, Thompson said, “Much of the reaction of the public, the rest of the media and other politicians is going to depend on President Trump and President Biden, who are the stars of the show.” He claimed that the format of the debate is designed “to get as much light as possible, and not to be overwhelmed with heat.”

While Trump has been campaigning extensively over the past days and weeks, regularly delivering two-hour-long speeches at various rallies and conferences, Biden has retreated to Camp David with campaign staff and advisers to prepare for the debate. Biden’s former chief of staff Ron Klain is reportedly in charge of debate prep for the 81-year-old incumbent. Former White House physician Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas) suggested that much of Biden’s time at Camp David will be spent “experimenting with doses” of performance-enhancing drugs. As a former physician to both Trump and Barack Obama, Jackson has repeatedly alleged that Biden’s performance in speeches such as the State of the Union is likely fueled by drugs. He has demanded that performance-enhancing drug tests be conducted both before and immediately following Thursday night’s debate.

Jackson’s suggestions of performance-enhancing drugs come as Americans continue to worry about Biden’s age and his cognitive state. The White House has frequently had to address video footage of the octogenarian president freezing onstage, wandering away from events, and mumbling incoherently. A survey conducted ahead of the debate found that 70% of Americans expect Biden “to mess up his words” during the debate, 49% expect him “to forget where he is,” 41% expect him “to walk off the wrong side of the stage,” and 40% expect him “to have problems standing up.” Half of voters expect Trump to win the debate, while less than 40% expect Biden to do well.

“Does Joe Biden make it through 90 minutes without a significant gaffe?” asked Brett O’Donnell, president of O’Donnell and Associates communications firm and former debate coach at Liberty University, on Tuesday night’s episode of “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins.” O’Donnell added that Biden’s frequent bumbles and blunders are “an indication of what age might be doing to him in terms of his competence for office.”

O’Donnell also urged Trump to make it clear that he will not allow Biden and the Democratic Party to federalize abortion. “This is definitely an issue that’s going to get debated, because I think Democrats feel like they have a good deal of offense they can generate because of the space being opened up by the overturning of Roe,” the debate coach predicted. He also advised Trump to go “on the offense” against Biden’s policies, noting that “there’s a lot of offense for him to generate, whether it’s the economy, immigration, or even on the life issue, because to this day, Democrats continue to try and pass a law that would legalize abortion on demand up until the minute before babies are born, at taxpayer expense.”

O’Donnell continued, “That is the position of the Democrats in the House and the Senate. Virtually no Democrats voted against the bill legalizing abortion up until the minute before a baby is born at taxpayer expense. And so, yes, Trump should be on offense on that issue, as well as all of the other issues, whether it’s the economy, energy, immigration, crime, so many different things where the public, en masse, believes Joe Biden has been a complete failure.”

Additionally, O’Donnell recommended that Trump contrast himself against the extremism of Biden’s policies. “It doesn’t matter what issue you look at, Joe Biden is a radical leftist liberal who is behind policies that have completely failed America and are ripping our country apart,” O’Donnell said, specifically noting Biden’s promotion of abortion, transgenderism, and illegal immigration. “None of those positions are popular with the American public,” he stated. “Joe Biden is out of step, that’s why he’s doing so miserably in many of the polls.”

Finally, O’Donnell suggested that Trump be “aggressive but not offensive” in Thursday night’s debate. “He should make this race a referendum on Joe Biden’s failed policies, because Joe Biden’s going to have a hard time defending any one of his policies,” O’Donnell said. “Donald Trump should litigate the case against Joe Biden on a policy level, to show just how miserably his policies have failed. And then present the solutions that he would bring in. … If he does that work in the debate, he’s going to have a successful night.”


S.A. McCarthy

S.A. McCarthy serves as a news writer at The Washington Stand.


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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.

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