‘I think he’s professional but don’t know if he’s all there’: Donald Trump concedes Joe Biden’s debate skills ahead of first showdown but shrugs off his rival’s $144 million campaign cash advantage
- President Donald Trump gave some rare praise to Joe Biden on Monday – as the two prepare to face-off in the first presidential debate next Tuesday
- Trump claimed the Democratic nominee is ‘professional’ and said ‘I have to assume he’s going to do great’ in the debates due to his 47 years in Washington
- ‘Look, I think he’s a professional,’ Trump told Fox & Friends. ‘I don’t know if he’s all there but I think he’s a professional… and that he can debate’
- The president also brushed off Biden and Democrats’ massive fundraising haul
- The Biden camp has a $144 million cash advantage over the president as they enter the fall sprint to Election Day
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‘Look, I think he’s a professional,’ Trump said in a call-in interview with Fox & Friends when asked about the upcoming debate. ‘I don’t know if he’s all there but I think he’s a professional… and that he can debate.’
‘I have to assume he’s going to do great — because he’s been there 47 years he’s been in the public service. A long time,’ the president continued of Biden’s long track record in Washington.
Part of his comments are a sharp turnaround from the president’s previous insistence that his superior mental and physical abilities and stamina will lead him to destroy Biden in any head-to-head matchup.
Trump and Biden will face-off in the first of three presidential debates next Tuesday, September 29.
The debate comes as Biden has earned enough in fundraising and donations recently to give him a significant financial advantage over his billionaire competitor.
Biden’s campaign and aligned Democratic Party committees entered the fall sprint to Election Day with $466 million in cash reserves.
This puts Team Biden about $141 million ahead of Donald Trump’s camp.
President Donald Trump gave some rare praise to Joe Biden on Monday, claiming the candidate ‘can debate’ and is ‘professional’
The comments come as Trump and Biden are set to face-off in the first presidential debate next Tuesday in Cleveland, Ohio
Trump’s campaign spokesperson Tim Murtaugh announced on Twitter last week that the campaign and Republican started September with $325 million in its cash stockpile.
This is a major difference from the opening months of the general election, at which point Trump enjoyed an intimidating financial lead.
Trump brushed off the new numbers by pointing to the last election where he was outspent by Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
When asked whether he would spend his own money, Trump told Fox News on Monday: ‘I would do that…if we needed money- but we don’t need money.’
Trump made sure to still get in a few jabs at Biden’s mental health.
‘I don’t understand what’s going on,’ he told the three-person Fox & Friends panel. ‘He doesn’t seem to be answering questions and he can’t answer questions. And much worse, a little while ago when he was on stage with the Democrats — he couldn’t do well.’
The president also pointed to the Biden v. Senator Bernie Sanders Democratic primary debate, which Trump admits was a good moment for the former vice president.
‘He did okay with Bernie — it was sort of a tie,’ Trump conceded, adding: ‘It was nothing great… It was ok. It was fine.’
Record-breaking fundraising began streaming in for Biden last month after he announced Senator Kamala Harris would be joining his presidential ticket.
Trump and Biden will face off in three debates – the first next week in Cleveland, Ohio moderated by Fox News host Chris Wallace.
The second will be moderated by C-SPAN’s Steve Scully and will take place Thursday, October 15 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida – the original hosts at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor withdrew over health concerns stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.
It will be held in town hall meeting format.
The third and final debate will take place Thursday, October 22 at the Curb Event Center at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. NBC News’ Kristen Welker will moderate.