NASHVILLE President Donald Trump is expected by aides and advisers to raise Hunter Biden and China throughout the final presidential debate in Nashville on Thursday and has been counseled by allies not to interrupt as much as he did during the first face-off.
Trump allies are hoping that if Democratic nominee Joe Biden is given more time to speak than during the first debate when Trump repeatedly interrupted his responses it will provide an opportunity for Biden to make a gaffe or give answers they believe will hurt him with voters. Its unclear though how much Trump will follow that strategy, he disregarded much of the advice he was given before the first debate.
Trump has done even less traditional debate prep for this second and final contest, according to multiple people familiar with the discussions. A few back-and-forth practice meetings took place on Air Force One over the last week while the president was traveling to battleground states. Those sparring rounds were more topic-oriented discussions with aides, however, and did not resemble formal sessions.
What am I doing to prepare? I’m doing this, Trump told reporters on Monday. I’ve done I’ve done very well in debates. And, you know, you do what you do. You just do what you do. ”
The team that helped prepare the president last time did not reassemble this time around, partially because several of them were still recovering from coronavirus, including outside adviser Kellyanne Conway and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
The president prepares for debates by being president, said campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh.
A worker cleans newly installed plexiglass shields on the debate stage on Oct. 21, 2020 ahead of the presidential debate in Nashville, Tenn.Justin Sullivan / Getty Images
Unlike the first debate, Trump and Biden will have their microphones muted during the two minute period the candidates are given to respond to the moderators questions. Trump has indicated he is not pleased with the new microphone-muting adjustment and says he will plan to speak up when he feels its appropriate.
Another change to the debate will be two plexiglass barriers between the candidates lecterns on stage, an adjustment made at the recommendation of the commissions medical advisors, said Commission on Presidential Debates co-chair Frank Fahrenkopf, Jr.
Im not sure that the Trump campaign wanted it,” he said on MSNBC.