Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign agreed to an inspection for electronic earpieces before the start of the Sept. 29 debate but is now declining, according to President Donald Trump’s campaign.
“Joe Biden’s handlers several days ago agreed to a pre-debate inspection for electronic earpieces but today abruptly reversed themselves and declined,” Tim Murtaugh, the campaign’s communications director, said in a statement.
“Biden’s handlers have asked for multiple breaks during the debate, which President Trump doesn’t need, so we have rejected that request. On top of the refusal to take a drug test, it seems pretty obvious that the Biden team is looking for any safety net they can find in the hours leading up to the debate.”
Biden campaign spokeswoman Kate Bedingfield called the statement “completely absurd.”
“Of course he’s not wearing an earpiece and we never asked for breaks,” she told reporters on a phone call.
Asked whether Biden’s campaign had ever agreed to have an inspection done before the debate, strategist Symone Sanders declined to answer directly.
“This is so ridiculous. This is absolutely ridiculous,” she said.
“So… Biden’s campaign is refusing to answer the question?” Trump campaign official Matt Wolking remarked in a tweet.
Biden’s campaign accused the Trump campaign of asking moderator Chris Wallace not mention that more than 200,000 Americans have died with COVID-19. Murtaugh called the claim “a lie,” adding: “This is the height of playing politics with a public health crisis.”
Biden and Trump are slated to face off in Cleveland, Ohio at 9 p.m. Tuesday for their first head-to-head debate.
The format is 90 minutes uninterrupted by commercials, according to the Commission on Presidential Debates, which describes itself as a nonpartisan nonprofit that handles scheduling and details for presidential debates.
The commission didn’t respond to a request for comment on what major requests the campaign made in terms of the debate and whether any were approved.