Speed Reads

2020 presidential debate

Trump wants Biden to undergo an ear inspection before the debate

If President Trump's calls for his Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden, to join him in taking a drug test before or after Tuesday night's presidential debate were ever serious, they gained little traction. On Tuesday, Trump's campaign moved on to a new demand: that both candidates subject themselves to a pre-debate, third party inspection for electronic ear pieces.

The calls came after a conspiracy theory that Biden would wear such a device spread on social media, including several accounts associated with the QAnon conspiracy theory. Biden's campaign denied reports that it had earlier agreed to an inspection.

The Trump campaign's unfounded speculation that Biden is planning to cheat — whether via electronics or performance-enhancing drugs — during the debate has coincided with their insistence that the former vice president is a strong debater, which runs counter to their usual depiction of him as a gaffe-prone candidate whose mental fitness should be called into question.

UPDATE: This piece has been updated to reflect the Biden campaign's denial it agreed to a pre-debate inspection.