Democratic presidential nominee Joseph Biden said on Thursday he will debate President Donald Trump ahead of the November elections, publicly rejecting calls by some members of his party urging him not to do so.
In an interview with MSNBC, Biden insisted the debates would take place and that he would “fact check” President Trump’s arguments himself. He gave the interview hours before Trump planned to speak on the final night of the Republican National Convention in what reportedly will be a blistering attack on Biden.
Earlier on Thursday, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she didn’t think there should be any debates. “I wouldn’t legitimize a conversation with him, nor a debate in terms of the presidency of the United States.”
Other Democrats have suggested Biden refuse to debate unless an independent fact checker is allowed. Democrats accuse Trump of repeatedly telling untruths about his own administration and as well as his critics.
In a wide-ranging interview, Biden also accused the Trump campaign of rooting for violence in cities such as Kenosha, Wisconsin, where looting and destruction took place after a Black suspect, Jacob Blake, was shot seven times by police when he resisted arrest. Police say the 29-year-old Blake had a knife, but they haven’t explained why an officer fired seven shots.
Two nights later, a pair of protesters were shot and killed in an altercation with an armed 17-year-old who had traveled to Kenosha from Illinois to help defend a business. He was part of a larger group of armed men who engaged in verbal spats with the protesters before the shootings occurred.
“They’re looking for more violence and more disruption because it helps them politically,” Biden said. “He’s rooting for more violence, not less.”
While Biden denounced the shooting of Blake, he repeated his opposition to “violence in any form” in Kenosha and other cities where peaceful protests have sometimes exploded into looting, burning and attacks on police.
Republicans have accused Biden and Democrats of failing to denounce the violence during their convention last week and letting the situation get out of hand. Vice President Mike Pence, his speech on Wednesday, said “you won’t be safe in Biden’s America.”
Biden countered that “this happens to be Donald Trump’s America.”