Ex-Trump campaign adviser on presidential debate: 'You are going to see a champion on the stage'
Lewandowski also addressed the apparent argument between him and former White House chief of staff John Kelly
Ahead of the first presidential debate between President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, Trump's former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, explained how the president is preparing for the big night.
“You’re going to see a champion on the stage tonight,” Lewandowski told “Varney & Co.” on Tuesday.
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Lewandowski, who helped prepare then-candidate Trump in the debates against Hillary Clinton in 2016, provided insight into how Trump is preparing to face off against Biden now.
“What we did is we allowed him the opportunity to answer questions from the media, which is what he’s been doing for the last six years,” Lewandowski said on Tuesday explaining how Trump prepared for the 2016 debates.
He went on to say that he doesn’t think “there’s any question” that Trump won’t be asked a question during the debate on Tuesday “that a member of the media hasn’t already asked him.”
“That’s clearly not the case with Joe Biden, who’s avoided these questions,” Lewandowski continued. “So the way you prep Donald Trump is you let him go out and talk to people, listen to all sides and give his responses.”
Lewandowski appeared on “Varney & Co.” with David Bossie, who was the deputy campaign manager to the Trump presidential campaign in 2016 and also helped prepare him for the debates then.
Host Stuart Varney asked Bossie on Tuesday if President Trump has “done any conventional debate prep this year?”
“He’s an unconventional candidate and always has been,” Bossie said in response. “He does it his way.”
“In 2016 he did it his way and it worked out perfectly,” he continued. “This year he’s doing it his way again.”
Bossie then noted that President Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who he pointed out are two people that the president “leans on and trusts,” have reportedly been helping him with debate prep as he squares off against Biden in Cleveland with Fox News' Chris Wallace as debate moderator for the first of three general election debates.
Over the last several weeks, sources told Fox News, the former vice president’s campaign has requested two breaks during the debate – one every 30 minutes – to break up the 90-minute commercial-free program. But that request has been denied by their Trump counterparts, the sources said.
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On Tuesday, Varney asked Lewandowski what the alleged request tells him about Biden.
“You don’t get a nickname like ‘Sleepy Joe’ for nothing,” he said in response. “The guy wants two breaks because he doesn’t have the stamina or the mental acuity to stay on the debate stage for that kind of time.”
“You juxtapose that with Donald Trump, who on his average day is doing two, three, four, five rallies a day in four different states, in two different time zones, and he has no problem standing up there,” he continued.
“We know Donald Trump has the stamina. We know Joe Biden has pulled the Hillary Clinton playbook out and dusted it off: rest for a week, get some breaks on the debate stage, and see is that really what the American people want? They want someone who can’t stand up for 90 minutes and have a conversation? Come on.”
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A Trump campaign source told Fox News that "our guy doesn't need breaks. He gives 90-minute speeches all the time."
Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s deputy campaign manager, denied the claim that the campaign had asked for breaks.
On Tuesday, Lewandowski also addressed reports that he got into a physical altercation with former White House chief of staff John Kelly. Lewandowski explained that he writes about the encounter in the newly released book he wrote with Bossie titled, “Trump: America First: The President Succeeds Against All Odds.”
The apparent scrape between the two men was recounted in a 2018 New York Times report, which quoted a "half-dozen people familiar with the events."
The report said Kelly supposedly grabbed Lewandowski “by the collar” amid an argument just outside the Oval Office, prompting the intervention of the Secret Service.
On Tuesday, Varney asked Lewandowski if it’s true that he “almost got into a fistfight with chief of staff John Kelly in the Oval Office?”
“John Kelly brought in his Secret Service detail and threatened to have me thrown out of his building,” Lewandowski said in response. “I reminded John that it was not his building, but the people’s building.”
“That’s the kind of chief of staff that John was,” he continued. “He wanted to use physical force and intimidation to keep people away from the president. I wasn’t going to cower to that.”
Varney then said he doesn’t think “a lot of Americans would approve” of a “fistfight” in the Oval Office.
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“I was there to have a nice meeting with the president, but when they try and block the president’s friends because they want to control every aspect of what goes on, that’s out of bounds,” Lewandowski responded, adding that Kelly was “the one who started with me.”
Fox News’ Bradford Betz, Peter Doocy, Paul Steinhauser and Patrick Ward contributed to this report.