I asked Reines, with all the time he’s spent studying Trump, what he would do if Klain asked him to suit up again for prep. He told me he would go at Biden by saying early on that “everyone can see Biden is losing the debate,” and then push the idea that Biden wasn’t physically or mentally well. Reines said he’d include lots of swings at Biden’s son Hunter, whose business dealings in Ukraine prompted the phone call that led to Trump’s impeachment.
“It is possible to be a terrible debater and be very hard to debate at the same time,” Reines added later. “And Donald Trump has gotten harder to debate—it is harder to understand him, it is harder to follow him, because it’s just one big sequitur; he’s telling so many lies, it’s impossible to think that you alone are going to fact-check him.”
But the way Biden behaved in the primary debates isn’t necessarily a great guide to how he will show up against Trump—a fact that the president and his aides seem to be preparing for as they build an ouroboros of contradictory expectations, including that Biden is effectively brain-dead, on performance-enhancing drugs, a stumbling idiot who can’t get his words out, and a debater with skills on par with Cicero’s.
The key difference that Biden’s aides are counting on: He doesn’t like taking shots at his fellow Democrats, but he enjoys whaling on Republicans.