Axios reported Sunday that President Donald Trump is so nervous about the three upcoming presidential debates that he quit his weekend vacation golfing short so he could meet with aides at his Bedminister resort to discuss it.
Trump has been talking a big game about the debates, demanding that there be even more debates and that they happen sooner. He's claimed that his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, is too old and not mentally fit and that the debate between the two will highlight this.
"In the room with Trump were his son-in-law Jared Kushner, campaign manager Bill Stepien, senior adviser Jason Miller, and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who role-played Hillary Clinton in Trump's 2016 debate prep sessions," reported Axios.
Instead of hosting a debate camp, the Trump team agreed that they would meet every ten days or so before the debate, sources told Axios. That means they'll only meet about five times between now and the first debate on Sept. 29 to teach Trump everything he'll need to know. They're concerned about leaks, so they're limiting the number of participants to just a handful of advisers.
"The group did not specifically discuss whether Christie will play Biden in debate rehearsals," as he did for Clinton in 2016. "But Trump has made private comments indicating Christie is likely to role-play Biden."
Trump bragged that Christie was harder to debate than Clinton was in 2016.
"I don't think he [Trump] sees the debates as the last inflection points, but potentially the most important," a source familiar with the meeting told Axios. "I think he always thinks he can create an inflection point."
"But he has verbalized how important these are going to be. He's said, 'We gotta win. The press will never give me the credit for it, but the people will.'"
Thus far, the overwhelming majority of American voters have already chosen their candidate, and fewer than 10 percent of Americans say that they are still undecided. Trump has complained that the debates are coming too late to help people decide.
Aides told Trump that Biden is a lot better and more disciplined debater than most think and that he should be prepared.