Joe Biden has laughed off Donald Trump’s demand that he take a drug test before the first presidential debate in Ohio on Tuesday.
Chuckling when asked about the demand at a news conference on Sunday, Biden said: “He’s almost – no. I have no comment.”
But the Biden campaign unloaded on Trump, saying the president apparently believed the best case for his re-election could be “made in urine”.
“We’d expect nothing less from Donald Trump, who pissed away the chance to protect the lives of 200,000 Americans when he didn’t make a plan to stop Covid-19.”
Biden and Trump will debate on Tuesday, with Trump trailing badly in the polls and in fundraising, even as he is buffeted by scandal including a New York Times report revealing that he is hundreds of millions in debt and uses potentially fraudulent schemes to avoid paying taxes.
Against such headlines, which were preceded by reports that Trump considered dead soldiers “losers” and “suckers”, and the emergence of a new sexual assault accusation, the president has been struggling to shift the focus to his opponent.
Trump often casts accusations that he himself is vulnerable to, as when he accused Hillary Clinton of enabling sexual assault. At least 26 women have come forward with claims of sexual misconduct by Trump.
Now Trump has repeated the same attack he used on Clinton, baselessly accusing Biden of planning to use drugs to goose his debate performance, after Trump and his campaign have attempted for months to portray Biden as a listless presence.
Trump repeated the accusation at a news conference at the White House on Sunday, saying, “people say he was on performance-enhancing drugs”. He also tweeted a demand on Sunday that Biden take a drug test.
In a previous false accusation against Biden, Trump allies on the right created a false controversy asserting that the former vice-president planned to skip the debate.
Trump and Biden are scheduled to meet for 90 minutes at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio on Tuesday. The event will be hosted by Fox News’s Chris Wallace and is scheduled to begin at 9pm ET.