- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Wednesday’s surprise announcement of two presidential debates drew one high-profile dissent — from Nancy Pelosi.

The former House speaker said she would have advised against debating former President Donald Trump.

“I myself would never recommend going on stage with Donald Trump,” the California Democrat said.

Asked to elaborate why, she cited the 2016 presidential debate between Mr. Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

“I think he was stalking Hillary Clinton. He wasn’t professional, he wasn’t presidential, he wasn’t meeting the dignity of the office,” Mrs. Pelosi told CNN in an impromptu interview on Capitol Hill.

Mr. Trump and President Biden agreed Wednesday to two debates — one in June and one in September — outside the context of the Commission on Presidential Debates.

Mrs. Pelosi did acknowledge that “the president has decided that’s what he wants to do” and added that “I think the format he is suggesting is a good one.”

Among the differences between the formats reportedly agreed to Wednesday and the Commission debates are the lack of a live audience and each candidate must wear microphones that will shut off if he tries to interrupt the other man. Independents such as Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who might’ve met the Commission criteria for inclusion on the stage, also would be excluded outright.

But Mrs. Pelosi also added that a better plan would have been “separate town hall meetings” for each man that would let the public “challenge them with questions about the future.”

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

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