MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell Suggests Candidates Have Staff On Stage During Debates

In a surprising proposal, MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell suggested that presidential candidates should be allowed to have their staff on stage with them during debates. O’Donnell’s comments come amid growing concerns about President Joe Biden’s debate performances, particularly following his recent lackluster showing against former President Donald Trump.

O’Donnell’s suggestion, made during a segment on his show, implies that both Biden and Trump, as well as any other candidates, should be able to confer with their staff throughout the debates. He believes this would provide a more accurate representation of how a presidency actually functions, as presidents often rely on advisors and staff for information and decision-making.

“Allow the candidates to have as many staff as they want, join them on the stage throughout the debate, and make sure that all of them have microphones,” O’Donnell said. “The candidates should be allowed to turn to their staff and confer with them about anything at any time in the debate. And we should be able to hear everything they say.”

O’Donnell argued that this setup would demonstrate the competence of the candidates’ staff and provide insight into the candidates’ decision-making processes. “We could watch the candidates actually think and process information, including possibly information that they might not know until a staff member tells them or reminds them,” he continued.

He further suggested that staff members should be allowed to answer questions on behalf of the candidates, similar to how cabinet members often speak for the president. “The presidency does not involve oral exams and memory quizzes,” O’Donnell said. “The president is allowed to forget what the marginal income tax rate is on couples filing jointly with an income of $150,000.”

The proposal has sparked debate and criticism, with many suggesting that O’Donnell’s idea is primarily aimed at assisting Biden, who has faced scrutiny over his cognitive abilities. Critics argue that this would undermine the purpose of debates, which is to assess the candidates’ knowledge and ability to respond under pressure.

Biden and Trump are scheduled to debate again in September, and it remains to be seen if Biden will continue in the race amid growing calls for him to step aside. O’Donnell’s proposal adds another layer to the ongoing discussions about the format and conduct of presidential debates.

As the political landscape evolves, the debate on how best to evaluate presidential candidates continues, with O’Donnell’s unconventional suggestion adding a new twist to the conversation.