UPDATE: The Trump campaign released a statement on Tuesday reminding Biden's team that they agreed to do an earpiece inspection several days ago.
“Joe Biden’s handlers several days ago agreed to a pre-debate inspection for electronic earpieces but today abruptly reversed themselves and declined," said Tim Murtaugh, Trump 2020 communications director. "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. With his 47 years as a failed Washington politician, how much help does Biden want?”
Tuesday marks the first 2020 presidential debate between President Trump and Joe Biden in Cleveland, Ohio, and the two campaigns are struggling over some last minute negotiations.
Fox News producer Pat Ward shared some of the new details. Reportedly, the Trump campaign is asking for ear tests for both candidates before they take the stage, and Biden's team is resisting. The Democrat has also asked for there to be two breaks.
The Trump campaign wants the Biden campaign to allow a third party to inspect the ears of the debaters for electronic devices or transmitters. The President has consented to this inspection, but Biden has not – so far. (2/3)— Pat Ward (@WardDPatrick) September 29, 2020
The Biden campaign requested two breaks (one every thirty minutes) during tonight’s program, which was denied by their Trump counterparts, in negotiations over the last several weeks. (3/3)— Pat Ward (@WardDPatrick) September 29, 2020
That means that tonight's debate will be a 90-minute commercial-free program.
While some analysts have been questioning how Biden will fare tonight, the Trump campaign is reportedly not underestimating his debate skills. Because, as they rightly note, he's done this once or twice before.
From a source: Trump campaign talking points to GOP members/staff ahead of tomorrow's debate ????— Al Weaver (@alweaver22) September 28, 2020
Notably, they're not trying to lower expectations for Biden:
"DO NOT underestimate his abilities in a debate." pic.twitter.com/sRJAhZQ6mE
Tonight's contest, which will be moderated by Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace, kicks off at at 9 p.m. ET.