President Donald Trump said on Monday that he assumes Democratic nominee Joe Biden will be able to perform well during their first televised debates later this month.
“Look, I think he’s a professional,” Trump told Fox News of the former senator and vice president, referring to the 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,” he said.
Trump and Biden are slated to square off on Sept. 29 in Cleveland, Ohio. Fox News anchor Chris Wallace was selected to moderate the first debate.
“I don’t understand what’s going on. 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 the stage with the Democrats, he couldn’t do well,” Trump said of Biden’s prior debate performances during the Democratic primaries.
The president said Biden “did OK” against Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). “It was sort of a tie” and “was nothing great,” Trump said.
But before that, Biden was “destroyed” by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who Biden ultimately selected as his vice-presidential choice.
“What she said to him was terrible,” Trump said of Harris’s sparring with Biden in the debates. “I tell you what, I watched that, and I’m shocked that he picked her [as his running mate] because he was … treated so badly by Kamala and then he picks her.”
In the most memorable Harris moment during the debates, she challenged Biden’s opposition as a senator to federally mandated bussing. She said that she benefitted from the program, which was designed to integrate schools.
“Nobody treated him worse than his vice presidential pick,” Trump said.
Biden in recent weeks has spoken while using a teleprompter on the campaign trail. The Trump campaign has criticized its rival for not doing interviews with the press over the past several months, saying that Biden will not be able to withstand aggressive questions.
In the Monday morning interview, Trump also noted that the Democrats have pulled in more funding in recent days.
“They’ve always had more money than the Republicans,” Trump said. “It’s sort of a funny thing. We have a lot, but … look, when I ran against [Hillary Clinton], I had 25 percent of the money that she had and nobody ever talked about that.”
Clinton “spent all that money and nobody ever gave me credit,” the president said.
Biden’s campaign reported Sunday that it and the Democratic National Committee began September with $466 million in the bank, which is about $141 million more than Trump and the Republican National Committee (RNC).
Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh wrote on Twitter Friday that the RNC and Trump’s team has about $325 million on hand.