Mixed martial arts commentator and podcast superstar Joe Rogan has offered to moderate a presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden – and the US President is on board with the idea.
Rogan spoke about the presidential race during a conversation with retired UFC fighter Tim Kennedy on his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience.
It was Kennedy who brought up the idea of Rogan hosting a debate.
“Would you do a debate?” he asked.
“(Would) you be the control mechanism to the candidates? Like, a Biden-Trump debate with Joe Rogan hosting. Your questions.”
“I would want that,” Rogan said.
“First of all, I’d want no one else in the room. Just the three of us. And you would have to stream it live so no one can edit it, and I would want them in there for hours.
“If they wanted to do that, they both wanted to come here in Austin, sit down and have a debate, I would 100 per cent do it.”
“That would be amazing,” Kennedy said.
“But I don’t think that Biden can handle it,” Rogan continued.
“I think Biden is like – I mean people get mad at me for saying this. I think there’s something wrong, because I’m guessing, or because I’m pro-Trump, I’ve seen him fall apart.
“He’s had multiple brain surgeries.
“I’m not trying to be biased in any way, shape or form. I’m a Bernie Sanders supporter, right? I’m a Tulsi Gabbard supporter.”
Mr Biden suffered a burst brain aneurysm in 1988, when he was a US senator. Doctors took care of another aneurysm before it could burst a few months later.
To back up his point, Rogan played a clip from a few years ago, when Mr Biden was vice president, of him speaking about the life-threatening surgeries.
“The only uncharted – totally uncharted portion of the universe is the brain,” he said.
“You know, I had two cranial aneurisms, and they literally had to take the top of my head off. And they talk a saw and they chop your head off and go in to find the artery – one was leaking, the other, before it burst.”
“Now, this is not a knock on this guy. I’m happy he’s alive,” Rogan stressed.
“But this is what we’re talking about. We’re talking about someone who – these are legit issues.”
“It’s weird. I know there were other people who could run for president, and I just don’t understand why they chose him,” Rogan said.
“It’s weird that the Democrats chose that.”
There are already official three presidential debates scheduled, on September 29, October 15 and October 22. They’re being organised, as always, by the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates.
They will be moderated by NBC’s Kristen Welker, C-SPAN’s Steve Scully and Fox News’s Chris Wallace, respectively.
Rogan said he didn’t think the Biden campaign would allow any of those debates to go ahead.
“You don’t think it’s going to happen? How can you not have a debate?” Kennedy asked.
“No. Biden’s not going to do it,” Rogan said.
“I don’t think he can. I don’t think he can stand there for that long and last.”
I should note that Mr Biden participated in 11 Democratic primary debates before claiming the party’s presidential nomination. Some of them lasted as long as three hours.
A handful of Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have suggested skipping the debates to avoid “legitimising” Mr Trump. Mr Biden has repeatedly, unambiguously rejected that idea.
“At this point, he’s doing well by not talking. He won’t even talk, because it hurts him,” Rogan continued.
“I would never allow him – if I were in the Democratic National Committee, I’d say, ‘There’s no way you’re debating.’ Trump’s going to destroy him.”
“But that doesn’t matter, because the ideas are the things that we’re voting on,” said Kennedy.
“People want to see who can hang in a debate, and they don’t want to vote for a loser,” argued Rogan.
“So if the guy gets up there and falls apart in the debate, stumbling his words, and starts flubbing and forgetting what he was talking about – like Biden’s done on multiple occasions – a lot of people are not going to vote for him.”
“I swear they had a scheduled debate in a couple of weeks,” said Kennedy.
“It’s not going to happen. I’ll bet you a hundred bucks it doesn’t happen,” Rogan told him.
“I think Biden, at this point, just wants to win. And they think the best way to win is to keep him from talking too much.”
Mr Trump indicated his interest in a Rogan-moderated debate on Twitter, responding to a post on the subject from Kennedy.
Rogan is not the only high profile MMA personality who supports Mr Trump over Mr Biden.
Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White spoke at the Republican National Convention last month, urging Americans to re-elect him.
“Many of you know who I am, what I do, and that I am friends with the President. I spoke at this convention four years ago, and I’m back, because I believe we need President Trump’s leadership now more than ever,” White told viewers.
“Before the pandemic, President Trump built the greatest economy in our nation’s history and created opportunities for all Americans like no one before him.
“Financial markets hit all time highs, unemployment was at an all time low, and we weren’t facing the lawless destruction that now is occurring in a few of our great cities.
“It blows my mind how quickly some of the leadership in this country has forgotten the critical role first responders play in our society. Police departments and other law enforcement – even some fire departments – have faced opposition from many in this country. But they are always the people who are asked to step up when things are at their worst and put themselves at risk.
“That has certainly been the case during this ongoing pandemic. Come on America. Defunding these vital positions is not the answer. The first responders have always taken care of us, and now more than ever, we need to take care of them.”
Some progressive activists have spent recent months, since the death of George Floyd, calling for police departments to be “defunded”. Mr Biden has rejected that idea.
White also spoke about Mr Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, suggesting no one could have anticipated the scale of the crisis.
“Let’s talk about COVID, and let’s be very honest about it,” he said.
“No one person, and no one place, could have anticipated the challenges that COVID would bring. But President Trump has faced all these obstacles head-on.
“He immediately put protective measures in place and he reached out to the best and the brightest American businesses across all industries to discuss what his administration could do to get the economy back up and running safely.”