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15 May, 2024 18:02

Dates of Biden-Trump debates revealed

The US president has responded to a challenge from his rival, telling the presumptive Republican nominee to “make my day”
Dates of Biden-Trump debates revealed

US President Joe Biden has finally accepted repeated challenges to debate Donald Trump, agreeing to square off with his Republican rival at least twice before voters go to the polls in November.

Both men accepted invitations from CNN and ABC News for debates that are scheduled to be held on June 27 and September 10, respectively. CNN said the first debate would be held in its Atlanta studio, with no audience present.

The agreements come after several months of challenges from Trump, including a statement in March calling for debates “anytime, anywhere, anyplace.” Biden had been non-committal in his responses, at one point saying, “It depends on his behavior.” In a video message posted Wednesday on X (formerly Twitter), the Democrat incumbent portrayed Trump as the reluctant challenger.

“Donald Trump lost two debates to me in 2020,” Biden said. “Since then, he hasn’t shown up for a debate. Now, he’s acting like he wants to debate me again. Well, make my day, pal.”

Trump responded on his Truth Social platform, saying it was his “great honor” to accept the CNN and ABC debate invitations. “Crooked Joe Biden is the worst debater I have ever faced. He can’t put two sentences together! Crooked is also the worst president in the history of the United States, by far.”

The debate plan breaks with tradition for US presidential races by holding the forums without in-person audiences and letting media outlets organize them. The nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates normally hosts three such contests in an election year. This time around, the commission had planned to host debates on September 15, October 1 and October 9.

The Biden and Trump campaigns have both clashed with the commission. The major-party candidates debated each other twice in 2020. Another debate planned by the commission was canceled after then-President Trump refused to hold the event remotely amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Putting the debates in the hands of legacy media outlets that have been hostile to Trump would appear to be an advantage for Biden. Moderators for the events have not been announced. Trump’s campaign had been pushing for at least four debates, while the Biden team reportedly called for the events to be held without live audiences.

“I would strongly recommend more than two debates and, for excitement purposes, a very large venue, although Biden is supposedly afraid of crowds,” Trump said on Wednesday. “That’s only because he doesn’t get them. Just tell me when, I’ll be there.”  He then likened the events to a boxing match, saying, “Let’s get ready to Rumble!!!”

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