MSNBC Host Suggests Staff Assist Candidates During Debates

MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell has proposed a dramatic change to presidential debate formats, suggesting candidates should be accompanied by their staff on stage. This idea follows President Joe Biden’s recent debate performance, which was widely criticized and has intensified scrutiny of his cognitive abilities.

O’Donnell’s suggestion involves allowing candidates to consult with their staff during debates, with all conversations being publicly audible. “Candidates should have as many staff as they want on stage with microphones,” O’Donnell said. “We should hear everything to understand if the candidate has competent staff.”

He believes this approach would provide a more realistic view of how a presidency functions, emphasizing that presidents often rely on their advisors for information and decisions. O’Donnell also suggested that staff members could directly answer questions, drawing parallels to how cabinet members speak for the president.

The proposal has ignited controversy, with critics arguing that it undermines the purpose of debates, which is to evaluate the candidates’ independent thinking and responsiveness. Many view O’Donnell’s suggestion as an attempt to bolster Biden, who has faced increasing pressure regarding his cognitive health.

Biden and Trump are scheduled for another debate in September, and this proposal has added a fresh layer to the ongoing debate about the effectiveness and structure of presidential debates.