The Trump campaign said Democrat Joseph R. Biden refused their request to have a third party inspect his ears for electronic devices prior to Tuesday night’s first presidential debate.
The Biden campaign, in turn, said Team Trump requested that the debate moderator not mention the number of Americans who have died from COVID-19.
The jockeying came hours before both candidates squared off for the first of their three debates.
“Joe Biden’s handlers several days ago agreed to a pre-debate inspection for electronic earpieces but today abruptly reversed themselves and declined,” said Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh.
He also said Mr. Biden’s handlers asked for “multiple breaks during the debate, which Mr. Trump doesn’t need.”
“We have rejected that request,” Mr. Murtaugh said.
Biden campaign spokeswoman Kate Bedingfield said the Democrat isn’t wearing an earpiece and that he never asked for breaks.
She countered that the Trump campaign requested that debate moderator Chris Wallace not mention the number of deaths from COVID-19.
Mr. Murtaugh retorted on Twitter, “This is a lie and it never happened. This is the height of playing politics with a public health crisis. Biden is trying to distract from the facts that he won’t submit to an inspection for earpieces, won’t take a drug test, and needs multiple breaks during the 90-minute debate.”
Mr. Murtaugh accused Mr. Biden of looking for help in the highly anticipated debate, which starts in Cleveland at 9 p.m. Eastern.
“On top of the refusal to take a drug test, it seems pretty obvious that the Biden team is looking for any safety net they can find in the hours leading up to the debate,” he said. “With his 47 years as a failed Washington politician, how much help does Biden want?”