Speaking at a virtual event organized by supporters of late conspiracy theorist Lyndon LaRouche, Stone suggested that President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign is at a disadvantage.
“Everything depends on this November,” Stone began.
“We are outgunned and outmanned, but I have great confidence in the president’s skills as a communicator and as a campaigner,” he said.
Stone — who worked on Trump’s 2016 campaign — said that the commander-in-chief should use his executive power to change the format of presidential debates.
“I hope that he does not agree to the debate schedule as put forward by the presidential commission on debates,” Stone said.
“I think the president can command how and when and under what format he debates, and he should use that power to control the dialogue on debates and to control what debates are ultimately heard by the American people.”
Established by the chairs of the Democratic and Republican parties in 1987, the Commission on Presidential Debates has organized every single debate since its inception.
For the 2020 election, the commission scheduled the first debate — to be held in Cleveland, Ohio — for September. In October, Trump and Joe Biden — the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee — will face off in Miami, Florida and Nashville, Tennessee.
Other Trump allies have echoed Stone, calling for more debates between the two candidates. In a recent interview, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee argued that the debates between Trump and Biden could be a “turning point” in the 2020 race.
Huckabee pointed to the 1984 election, suggesting one of the reasons Republican Ronald Reagan beat Democrat Walter Mondale was Reagan’s strong performance on stage. The former Arkansas governor also noted that Democrat Michael Dukakis lost the 1988 race after struggling to answer questions about capital punishment.
As Newsweek reported, some Democratic operatives and strategists have even advised Biden to skip the debates. Former White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart said that Trump should not be given a platform to spread “lies,” while former Hillary Clinton senior adviser Zac Petkanas said that Biden would throw Trump a “lifeline” by debating him.
It remains to be seen whether Biden will agree to confront Trump, but he has been criticized for allegedly avoiding the media. On Friday, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace called out the Democrat for declining an invitation to sit down for an interview, pointing out that he hasn’t appeared on a Sunday news show for months.