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News Every Day |

Trump Allies Beg Him Not to Be “Raging Asshole” at Biden Debate

Trump’s debate preppers are begging him to not be a “raging asshole,” according to sources who shared their sigh-inducing strategies with Rolling Stone ahead of Thursday’s presidential debate against Biden.

A Republican who recently provided debate prep to Trump paraphrased their advice to Rolling Stone as, “Don’t be a raging asshole while you’re on stage with Biden.” The unnamed Republican also discouraged Trump against taking the bait from Biden to devolve into the aforementioned “raging asshole” like he did in 2020. During those debates, Trump opened by derailing what NPR at the time described as “maybe the worst presidential debate in American history,” then took a restrained approach for the second, which led to him face planting.*

Trump appears to be taking the advice seriously. According to Rolling Stone, Trump has privately acknowledged that Biden would try to make him act “crazy” during the debate, which for Trump is just something he typically does all on his own. Rolling Stone also notes the topic has come up at rallies. At a rally in Atlanta, Georgia, Trump reportedly told the crowd that multiple advisers had told him he “should be nicer.” At another rally in Pennsylvania, Trump asked attendees how he should act during the debate. According to Rolling Stone, he asked the crowd, “Should I be tough and nasty, and just say, ‘You’re the worst president in history?’ Or should I be nice, and calm, and let him speak?” The crowd overwhelmingly cheered for him to be the “raging asshole” his debate preppers have urged him against.

Allies and advisers around Trump are concerned he’ll let Biden get to him, with pressure points aplenty amid a historic felony conviction, allies getting creamed in state courts across the country for their efforts to overturn the 2020 election, his election denialist base getting carted off to federal prison for participating in the January 6 insurrection, and Trump-endorsed candidates losing their primaries. They’re also concerned Trump will be a “raging asshole” about Biden’s age.

“You can be strong and fight, but most people won’t like to see you beating up too hard on grandpa,” one source told Rolling Stone, referring to attacks on Biden’s age. Dan Eberhart, a longtime GOP donor who claims to have spent a lot of time around Trump recently, also urged caution, telling Rolling Stone, “He needs to be careful to be assertive but not aggressive with Biden. If he’s too aggressive, it’ll turn off female voters.”

Trump and his followers have already decided he lost the upcoming debate, naturally claiming it was rigged: Both Trump and his daughter-in-law Lara Trump have pushed a doping conspiracy that claims if Biden is anything other than altogether boring during the debate, it’ll be due to drugs. Other allies like Steve Bannon and Marjorie Taylor Greene, both everlasting sources of nonsensical conspiracy theories, have preemptively decided Trump will lose the debate because the moderators are biased against him.

Meanwhile, Trump claims the entirety of his debate prep is just…being interviewed by conservative outlets. Ahead of his rally in Philadelphia last Saturday, Trump told conservative radio talk show host Chris Stigall, “People say, ‘How are you preparing?’ I’m preparing by taking questions from you and others, if you think about it.”

If Trump shows restraint in Thursday’s debate, it won’t be because he’s magically developed a mature and level-headed “presidential tone”—but because he listened to his advisers begging him not to be a “raging asshole” for once.

* This article originally misstated the number of Trump-Biden debates in 2020.


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