In a recent change of pace, President Donald Trump told “Fox and Friends” that he expects former Vice President Joe Biden “to do great” at the first debate set to take place in Ohio on September 29th, reports The New York Post.
“I think he’s a professional. I don’t know if he’s all there, but I think he’s a professional,” Trump said to the “Fox and Friends” panel of hosts. “I have to assume that he’s a professional and that he can debate.”
This comes at a stark contrast to statements the President has made earlier about Joe Biden’s performance during the primary debates, which Trump called, “worst debate performances I’ve ever seen.” Just last week, without evidence, Trump suggested to the same trio of hosts on “Fox and Friends” that Joe Biden was using drugs to enhance his debate performance against Bernie Sanders.
According to The New York Post article, Trump said, “I won’t say what but a lot of people think that something happened and you can’t do that kind of stuff, you just can’t do that kind of stuff.”
When pressed as to whether Trump was insinuating that Biden was taking something to “pep him up,” the President responded, “I do, he’s taking something… that gives him some clarity.”
Top Trump aides and campaign advisors have been building a debate prep strategy since early August. Forbes notes that Trump’s change in tune may have come as advisors remind him that, historically, presidential campaigns will raise expectations for their opponents leading into the debates.
Longtime Republican pollster Frank Luntz says, “Joe Biden has had mixed results of speaking off the cuff in the last few months, but he has been elevated by such low expectations,” reports Politico. “I don’t understand why the Trump people and Trump himself make fun of Biden’s inability to complete a sentence. That makes it easier for him to claim victory.”