4 minute read

President Donald Trump and his campaign are falling apart just as the bill comes due for four years of lies, malfeasance, and unforced errors. 

After Pence’s inanimate, torpid slog through the debate against Sen. Kamala Harris and snapshot polling showing that the venal flycatcher lost overwhelmingly to his challenger, Trump is now roid-raging and fit-throwing over the final two debates scheduled between him and former Vice President Joe Biden. 

Opinion

Opinion

by George Lang, opinion writer for Free Press

In a Thursday interview with former journalist Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business, Trump said he would not participate in the Oct. 15 debate in Miami, Florida, after the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) announced earlier that day it would be a virtual town hall. The CPD revised its plan for the second debate to provide separation between Biden, who continues to test negative for coronavirus, and Trump, who is now on dexamethasone and claiming he is “cured” of COVID-19.

The CPD set the original formats in a time when the incumbent president was just a science-denying, narcissistic authoritarian, but today he is the superspreading patient zero in the White House COVID-19 outbreak. Despite the CPD’s earnest effort to keep Trump from spreading the virus to Biden and the live audience, Trump used the new rule as an excuse to ditch out of the debate when he and Pence are now 0-2 against Biden and Harris. 

“No, I’m not going to waste my time on a virtual debate,” Trump said Thursday morning. “The commission changed the debate style and that’s not acceptable to us. I beat him in the first debate, I beat him easily.”

Trump beat exactly no one during the Sept. 29 presidential debate. Instead, it was an epic self-defeat, an erratically verbose cascade of lies and invective that still hangs over this nation like a semi-sentient cloud of infectious gas. 

It is patently ridiculous for Trump to insist on an unchanged format given his recent hospitalization. Regardless of how great he allegedly feels thanks to steroids and experimental drugs, he is not “cured” and he will continue to be infectious for at least two weeks. 

But now Trump’s campaign manager and fellow COVID-19 patient Bill Stepien wants to delay the debate and finish the process in the final two weeks of October with in-person debates on Oct. 22 and 29. Biden quickly rejected the Trump/Stepien plan.

“Trump’s erratic behavior does not allow him to rewrite the calendar, and pick new dates of his choosing,” said Biden spokesperson Kate Bedingfield. “We look forward to participating in the final debate, scheduled for October 22, which already is tied for the latest debate date in 40 years. Donald Trump can show up, or he can decline again. That’s his choice.”

Trump should not be trusted, nor should he have any hand in how the CPD is choosing to proceed. If Trump thinks he is truly “cured,” that means he cannot be relied on to behave in a safe manner during a debate. He is delusional, and as many medical experts have said, the dexamethasone is not helping. 

“I don’t think I’m contagious at all,” said Trump, who at press time does not have a medical degree. He also claimed this that he might be immune.

Furthermore, NBC reports that Trump insisted last year that any physicians who treated him at Walter Reed Military Medical Center sign non-disclosure agreements (NDA) regarding his health. 

Because Trump’s physician, Dr. Scott Conley, acted during his press briefings like he was trying to cover up the death of Josef Stalin, the public’s understanding of the president’s current state of health is tenuous at best.

But Trump wants nothing to be truly “knowable,” including information about his health. He sows doubt in everything because, like his mentor Vladimir Putin, he knows that confusion works in his favor. So, rather than agree to the debate commission’s amended rules for the Oct. 15 debate, Trump throws the game pieces in the air and makes everyone question whether there will be debates at all. 

Following the milquetoast moderation by Chris Wallace and Susan Page in the first two debates, I have my doubts as to whether the CPD can stand up to Trump. As we hurtle through the chaos toward Election Day, we need all the certainty we can get.


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