President Trump has spent months depicting Joe Biden as so riddled with dementia he literally does not know where he is or what he is saying at any given moment. Apparently realizing that is setting up his own supporters to be shocked by a halfway cogent performance by his opponent, the president has begun frantically planting excuses in advance for why Biden may not wander off the stage confused, asking his nurse for applesauce.
Unable to commit to a single story, the Trump campaign and its surrogates have spread a whole bunch of them:
Biden won’t show up
For weeks, Trump officials spread the notion that Biden would refuse to attend the debate. Rush Limbaugh has continued to endorse this idea as recently as the day of the debate:
The main problem with this attack is that it is very easily falsifiable. Unless Trump supporters want to claim Biden pulled a Paul McCartney–Billy Shears and replaced the candidate with an impersonator.
Biden is on drugs
Trump has repeated versions of this charge for days. It is not clear which drugs he believes would enable Biden to become sharp and well versed in public policy, or why Trump has refrained from taking those drugs himself. At one point, he posited his opponent is receiving an injection anally:
The medicine then travels from the buttocks to the brain, enabling Biden to describe his platform and engage in sharp retorts.
Biden has a secret earpiece
Perhaps instead of — or in addition to! — the butt drug, Biden is being fed the answers through a secret transmitter in his ear:
If you’ve ever been in a fast-paced debate, it would be pretty tricky to simultaneously follow the interviewer, your opponent, and a third voice coming into your ear. It would be especially tricky if you were undergoing the cognitive impairment Trump insists his opponent is suffering. But maybe it works in tandem with the secret drug, somehow.
Biden got the questions in advance
The debate moderator has already released his list of topics for the debate. Once you have the general topic, you can prepare an answer pretty easily. But Jerome Corsi, a conservative activist who served as Roger Stone’s contact with WikiLeaks during the campaign, told Todd Starnes, a radio host and former Fox News personality, that Trump spread the claim that Biden got an advance look at the specific wording.
If this scandal is true, Corsi is probably not the journalist who is going to break it.
Biden is studying in a basement
Multiple news reports have noted Trump’s aversion to debate prep. The Trump campaign is turning this around, charging Biden with trying to gain an advantage by preparing for the event beforehand. IN A BASEMENT:
If this charge is confusing, a bit of explanation may be helpful. One of the newfound convictions of the Trump era is that only terrible things happen in basements. Republicans spent days claiming the first House impeachment hearings were illegitimate because they took place in a basement. Obviously, QAnon has a number of basement-related theories. If Biden is prepping in a basement, he is surely up to no good.
Or maybe the scandal is that he was prepping for the debate at all. What kind of nerd does that?