The United States is the worst-hit country from the novel coronavirus, with over 200,000 deaths. But it seems President Donald Trump did not want to speak about it during the presidential debate between him and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Before the debate, the US President's campaign asked that both Trump and Biden undertake a drug test. They also said that Biden should be checked for any earpieces or sound devices. Following this, Edward-Isaac Dovere, a staff writer for The Atlantic, took to Twitter to reveal that Biden's deputy campaign manager and communications director Kate Bedingfield said the Trump campaign had allegedly put in the condition for debate moderator, Chris Wallace, not to mention the COVID-19 fatalities during the debate.
Dovere tweeted, "@KBeds of the Biden campaign says that the Trump campaign asked as a condition that Chris Wallace not mention the number of COVID deaths in the debate tonight."
However, the Trump campaign denied allegations of asking the debate moderators to avoid mentioning the number of US Covid-19 deaths during the debate, reported The Hill. Trump campaign's director of communications Tim Murtaugh rebutted the allegation calling it "a lie."
"This is a lie and a continuation of the politicization of a public health crisis that Biden has been engaged in for months," he tweeted.
Fox News had recently reported that the Trump campaign wanted the Biden campaign to allow a third party to inspect the ears of each debater for electronic devices or transmitters. However, a source said that the Biden campaign had declined the ear check. "Joe Biden's handlers several days ago agreed to a pre-debate inspection for electronic earpieces but today abruptly reversed themselves and declined. Biden's handlers have asked for multiple breaks during the debate, which President Trump doesn't need, so we have rejected that request," Murtaugh said.
Biden's communications director Kate Bedingfield hit back by saying: "His staff seems concerned that he may not do well tonight and they're already laying the groundwork for how they're going to lie about why. It is completely absurd. Of course, he's not wearing an earpiece and we never asked for breaks."
Commenting on the allegations of requesting to not mention COVID-19 deaths, Bedingfield added, "If we're playing that game, the Trump team asked that Chris Wallace never mention the number of COVID deaths once during the debate. You can consider that confirmed from the Biden campaign. See how easy that was to try and throw out a distraction. It is pathetic. It's weak. Once again, the Trump campaign is lying. They're going to process because they don't want to debate Joe Biden on the substance. You go to process when you can't go to substance."
After the allegations surfaced online, Twitter users weighed in on the news. Activist and podcaster Scott Dworkin wrote: "The Trump campaign asked Chris Wallace to not mention the number of virus deaths tonight. Don't worry, Biden will bring it up, because it actually matters to him. #Debates2020."
One user wrote, "Trump has asked that the over 200,000 people that died from covid not be mentioned during the debate? Does he believe the good people of the USA would ever forget the death he allowed to happen? He did nothing, nothing."
Another user tweeted, "Don't forget this: "The Trump team asked that Chris Wallace never mention the number of Covid deaths once during the debate". Trump wants to hide from the fact that he has killed 200,000+ Americans."
Another seemingly upset user, wrote, "Trump is playing dirty and needs to be taught a lesson." Another one wrote, "So, Trump is requesting that Chris Wallace not mention the number of US COVID deaths How y'all feeling about that? #PresidentialDebate #AuntieTweetsTheDebates."
Another one expressing disappointment, tweeted, "If we had a President that gave a damn, the debate would start with a minute of silence for all the lives lost to Covid-19 in the US, 20% of worldwide deaths. #Debates2020."
The Trump administration's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic is anticipated to be one of the biggest talking points former Vice President Biden will use against the president during the debates. Ahead of the upcoming presidential election, Trump and Biden will be participating in three in-person debates, the first one was moderated by Fox News' Chris Wallace and took place on September 29 in Cleveland, Ohio.