Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign responded to calls from President Donald Trump that he should take a drug test before their first debate on Tuesday as Trump sought to shed light on the former vice president’s “uneven” performance during debates in the Democratic primaries earlier this year.
Biden’s deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said the president is making the claim in an attempt to deflect away from the U.S. COVID-19 pandemic.
“Vice President Biden intends to deliver his debate answers in words. If the president thinks his best case is made in urine he can have at it,” she said in a statement before she attempted to make a joke. “We’d expect nothing less from Donald Trump, who [expletive] away the chance to protect the lives of 200K Americans when he didn’t make a plan to stop COVID-19.”
Biden himself has not personally addressed Trump’s claims. When he was asked about it by a reporter over the weekend, the former vice president said, “He’s almost … No, I have no comment.”
But on Monday, Trump continued to push the claim, writing on Twitter: “Joe Biden just announced that he will not agree to a Drug Test. Gee, I wonder why?”
On Sunday, the president told reporters at a news conference that “people say he was on performance-enhancing drugs” when he was asked about why he wanted a drug test.
And on Twitter, he wrote, “I will be strongly demanding a Drug Test of Sleepy Joe Biden prior to, or after, the Debate on Tuesday night. Naturally, I will agree to take one also. His Debate performances have been record setting UNEVEN, to put it mildly. Only drugs could have caused this discrepancy???”
Several weeks ago, he told the Washington Examiner that he noted a sudden improvement in Biden’s debate performance during the Democratic primary earlier this year. Trump didn’t provide evidence for the claim other than what he saw on stage.
“Nobody thought that he was even going to win,” Trump told the newspaper about Biden’s campaign earlier this year. “Because his debate performances were so bad. Frankly, his best performance was against [Sen. Bernie Sanders]. We’re going to call for a drug test, by the way, because his best performance was against Bernie. It wasn’t that he was Winston Churchill because he wasn’t, but it was a normal, boring debate. You know, nothing amazing happened. And we are going to call for a drug test because there’s no way—you can’t do that.”
Trump added that he doesn’t know how the former vice president “could have been so incompetent in his debate performances and then all of a sudden be OK against Bernie” in their final debate.
That assertion, he said, was based on his own observations and not on any sources or information that was revealed to him.
“My point is, if you go back and watch some of those numerous debates, he was so bad. He wasn’t even coherent. And against Bernie, he was. And we’re calling for a drug test,” the president said.
“It is a prizefight,” the president added, likening the debate to a boxing match. “It’s no different from the gladiators, except we have to use our brain and our mouth. And our body to stand. I want all standing; they want to sit down.”