2020 Presidential Debates: How Donald Trump and Joe Biden Differ In Their Tactics


Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden says he is eager to debate President Trump, who has been questioning the former vice president’s mental acuity.

“I’m looking forward to getting on the debate stage with Trump and holding him accountable. I think I know how to handle bullies — we’ll find out,” Biden told a Thursday fundraiser.

Bullying tactics are at the forefront of the Trump’s campaign. 

Campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh in April told CNN that Joe Biden’s “sharpness or lack thereof is on display every day, every time he talks. His inability to keep a train of thought going is apparent.”

The president himself does not shy away from insulting Biden’s intelligence. In late July, in an interview with Fox News, President Trump said Biden is “mentally shot.”

With the Trump campaign capitalizing on every Biden miscue, the president himself has no shortage of public blunders.

Trump often jumps to an entirely new thought before finishing his previous one, Vox noted. His ability to focus on one topic but then redirect to another within seconds is apparent in most of his speeches. 

The New York Times reported White House allies and Republican lawmakers said they believed the COVID-19 briefings had hurt the president more than helped him. Many wanted the president to stick to a prepared script, but Trump would turn to his preferred style of extemporaneous bluster and invective.

Trump’s debate tactics are similar to the way he gives speeches, relying on insults and rapid-fire counters. In 2016, he attempted to physically intimidate Hillary Clinton by lurking behind her and at one point brought up sex scandals involving her husband, former President Bill Clinton, calling his Democratic rival a “nasty, mean enabler.” He dubbed Florida Sen. Marco Rubio “Little Marco” and called him a “lightweight.” 

But after months of attacks against Biden’s mental stability, the Trump campaign admits the former vice president is a threat.

“Joe Biden is actually a very good debater. He doesn’t have as many gaffes as he does in his everyday interviews,” campaign adviser Jason Miller told The Washington Post. “I would make the argument that Joe Biden would even be the favorite in the debates since he’s been doing them for 47 years.”

NBC reported Biden released a snippet of his debate strategy at his campaign fundraiser. His approach includes focusing on the facts, explaining his agenda to voters, and pointing out promises Trump made but has failed to fulfill. He added that he does not want to see a shouting match with Trump.

“I hope I don’t get baited into getting into a brawl with this guy,” Biden said. “It’s going to be hard because I predict he’s going to be shouting.” Biden added there was “a lot more I can say” about strategy but declined to disclose the rest of his game plan.


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