Joe Biden is reportedly hunkered down in Wilmington in preparation for Monday’s presidential debate while President Donald Trump has back-to-back campaign rallies in Arizona with more on tap ahead of Thursday’s final presidential debate, according to the Daily Mail.
Their respective approaches mirror what they did leading up to the first debate, with Biden at the books and Trump drawing energy from his voter base.
Thursday will mark the final head-to-head for Trump and Biden before the November 3 election.
This comes after the second presidential debate was canceled when Trump refused to participate in it after organizers made it virtual, despite the president having tested negative for the novel coronavirus. The two candidates held dueling town hall meetings on different networks instead.
Ahead of their meeting, it is not likely that Trump will hold formal debate preparation sessions. One of the primary reasons is that Trump himself and more than half the people in them—including adviser Hope Hicks, campaign manager Bill Stepien, and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie—contracted the coronavirus, The New York Times reported.
But the president’s advisers are urging him to take a different approach to Thursday’s event in Nashville, compared to the first debate, when Trump was criticized for repeatedly interrupting and talking over his Democratic opponent.
The format for the third debate is the same, but advisers are telling him to be more likable, according to Axios, including trying to tell jokes and use a softer tone. But the one area where Trump is expected to hit hard is on Hunter Biden, the former vice president’s son.
The Daily Mail reported:
The president and his campaign have repeatedly hammered the Bidens on email messages reported to be from Hunter and Ukrainian officials. The laptop was from a repair shop in Wilmington whose owner could not remember who brought in and existence was revealed by Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer. Its authenticity is under question.
The third debate comes as Trump campaign aides are quietly conceding how uphill the odds are for the president to get a second term with the blame-game beginning.
Mark Meadows—the White House chief of staff—is bearing the brunt, The Times reported, with critics drawing attention to the way he handled the president’s hospitalization with COVID. Questions were also being raised about why Meadows sat in Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings this past week instead of being at work at the White House.
Meanwhile, Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn became the latest Republican to distance himself from the president. Cornyn, running for a fourth term, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram of his relationship with Trump, that “maybe like a lot of women who get married and thing they’re going to change their spouse, and that doesn’t usually work out very well.”
“I think what we found is that we’re not going to change President Trump. He is who he is. You either love him or hate him, and there’s not much in between,” he said.
“What I tried to do is not get into public confrontations and fights with him because, as I’ve observed, those usually don’t end too well.”
Cornyn’s words came after Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell was at pains to stress that he had not been to the White House since August. Arizona Senator Martha McSally repeatedly refused to answer if she was proud of her support for the president. And Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse said in a private phone call that he expected Trump to lose.
Biden is currently ahead in the polls with just over two weeks until election day. Nearly 29 million Americans have already cast their vote.