Nancy Pelosi gave some unsolicited advice to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Thursday, encouraging the former vice president to skip out on debating President Trump ahead of Election Day.
"I myself, just don’t tell anybody I told you this, especially don’t tell Joe Biden," the speaker told reporters on Thursday. "I don't think there should be any debates."
Clearly intending her remark to be tongue-in-cheek, as she was speaking to reporters and they would most certainly tell people, especially Biden, Pelosi explained that she didn't think that Trump had behaved well enough to be allowed to debate Biden.
"I do not think that the president of the United States has comported himself in a way that anybody has associations with truth, evidence, data, and facts," Pelosi said of President Trump. "I wouldn't legitimize a conversation with him."
In a surprise interview with Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC just a short time later, Biden responded to Pelosi's comment by saying that he did still plan on debating Trump, as long as the Commission on Presidential Debates maintained the status quo.
"No. I am—as long as the commission continues down the street, narrow as they have, I will debate him," Biden said. He then requalified his answer with a bit less certainty saying, "I know for certain I will try." It was not clear what Biden meant by saying the CPD had provided only a "narrow" street for the three planned presidential debates.
The Trump campaign had requested an additional debate to be held in early September so that those choosing to vote early by mail would have a chance to see the two candidates square off before casting their ballot. That request was denied by the CPD, who said that if both candidates had requested it, they might consider, but as it was only a request by Trump's campaign, three debates would be sufficient.
"The Commission has found that three 90-minute debates work well to fulfill the voter education purposes the debates are intended to serve," an official statement on the matter read. "If the candidates were to agree that they wished to add to that schedule, the Commission would consider that request but remains committed to the schedule of debates it has planned as reflected in the attached release."
In a joking tone during his brief interview on Thursday, Biden said he would take on the responsibility of fact-checking the president as the two debated on stage over the three planned debates.
"I will be a fact-checker on the floor while I am debating him," Biden said, before listing off thoughts about his belief that Trump is less than truthful.
"But, look, one thing that has gone on so far is the vast majority, with notable exceptions of the news media, have been fact-checking the things said during the convention," he said, ostensibly referring to outlets with a conservative slant.
"It’s just one lie after another, lie, lie, lie, one after another," he said, with no examples.
"But the debates will take place," Biden reiterated. "It has been recommended to me, including leading Republicans, saying I should not debate Trump unless there’s a fact-checker on the ground saying, 'that’s true, that’s not true.' I think everybody knows this man has a somewhat pathological tendency not to tell the truth."
In that same interview, despite Biden's apparent affinity for fact-checkers, he again repeated the fully debunked lie that President Trump referred to neo-Nazis and white supremacists as "very fine people," following a 2017 riot in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Following the violent and deadly clash in 2017 that began as a dispute about whether to preserve Confederate monuments and exploded into a clash between dangerous extremists from the far-left and far-right, the president condemned the violence.
In a press conference discussing the Confederate statues, the history of the area, and what led to the violence, the president said about those protesting against the removal of statues that there were "very fine people on both sides." In the same Q&A with reporters, he clarified his remarks.
"I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists -- because they should be condemned totally. But you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists. Okay?" The president said. Biden has persistently used this lie to cast the president as a white nationalist throughout his campaign, with zero pushback from the mainstream media.
Richard Spencer, a neo-Nazi and white supremacist who co-organized the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville that day, has endorsed Biden for president in 2020.