Donald Trump ignored multiple polls on Wednesday as he declared victory in the first presidential debate, claiming former Vice President Joe Biden is eager to skip two additional scheduled debates despite what the Democratic nominee’s aides say.
“I hear he doesn’t want to go forward, but that’s up to him. I would like to,” the president told reporters as he left the White House to campaign and raise funds in Minnesota. “By every measure, we won the debate easily last night.”
Various polls, however, gave Mr Biden a clear edge during the chaotic event that saw voters get no new information about either candidate.
Mr Trump, as always, lobbed a few personal attacks on his general election rival.
“He was weak, he looked weak. He was whining. Yeah, we won the debate by almost every poll that I saw,” Mr Trump said. “I hear he wants to get out of the debates. That’s up to him.”
But both Senator Kamala Harris, Mr Biden’s running mate, and campaign aide Symone Sanders said in separate cable news interviews that Mr Biden will attend the last two debates.
The next face-to-face between the candidates is slated for 15 October in Miami, and will be a town hall with undecided voters asking most of the questions and C-SPAN’s Steve Scully trying to keep the peace.
Ms Sanders, the Biden aide, told MSNBC on Wednesday her boss is planning to show up in South Florida to “take questions from voters across the state of Florida about the most pressing issues facing them.”
Polls suggest Mr Trump was not the winner, despite his claims, of Tuesday’s spectacle in Ohio.
CNN released an instant poll about 90 minutes after the event ended, with six in 10 voters giving Mr Biden the victory.
A more scientific poll released later by the network and polling partner SSRS suggested a more lopsided debate, with 60 per cent saying the former VP won and only 28 per cent giving the edge to the president. A CBS-YouGov survey gave Mr Biden a 48 per cent to 41 per cent win.