Biden and Trump agree to debates in late June and September

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump agreed Wednesday to participate in general election debates on June 27 and Sept. 10.

A press release from CNN said the first, on June 27, would start at 9 p.m. ET and will be held in the news organization’s studios in Atlanta.

“To ensure candidates may maximize the time allotted in the debate, no audience will be present. Moderators for the debate and additional details will be announced at a later date,” CNN said.

The agreement came just hours after Biden challenged Trump to two debates hosted in a television studio ahead of the November election — a departure from the traditional system that has been used.

Trump quickly responded to that challenge, saying he disagrees with Biden’s call to not debate in front of a crowd, but accepting the proposed dates and indicating he, too, was eager to debate.

Later in the morning, Biden said on X that he had accepted an invitation from CNN to participate in the June 27 debate.

“Over to you, Donald. As you said: anywhere, any time, any place,” Biden said.

Shortly after, a Trump aide said they agreed to the CNN debate in Atlanta — and the fact there will be no crowd for that first debate.

Biden and Trump later in the morning said they accepted an invitation by ABC News to participate in a second debate on Sept. 10.

“I’ve also received and accepted an invitation to a debate hosted by ABC on Tuesday, September 10th,” Biden said on X. “Trump says he’ll arrange his own transportation. I’ll bring my plane, too. I plan on keeping it for another four years.”

“It is my great honor to accept the CNN Debate against Crooked Joe Biden, the WORST PRESIDENT in the History of the United States and a true Threat to Democracy, on June 27th,” Trump said on Truth Social. “Likewise, I accept the ABC News Debate against Crooked Joe on September 10th. Thank you, DJT!”

Trump and Biden in their first presidential debate on Sept. 29, 2020.Win McNamee / Getty Images file

CNN’s debate criteria leave open the possibility of other candidates joining the stage, but it would be difficult.

Independent Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has already hit CNN’s 15% national polling threshold in two qualifying polls, with just two more needed to fulfill the polling criteria. But the network also announced that in order to participate, “a candidate’s name must appear on a sufficient number of state ballots to reach the 270 electoral vote threshold to win the presidency prior to the eligibility deadline,” which appears to be June 20.

Many state deadlines for independent ballot access are after that date. In Ohio, for example, Kennedy’s campaign has announced it gathered the needed signatures to appear on the ballot there. But the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported last week that the campaign would wait to turn in signatures for certification until closer to Ohio’s state deadline, which is Aug. 7.

In a post on X Wednesday morning, Kennedy wrote that Biden and Trump “are trying to exclude me from their debate because they are afraid I would win.”

In the morning, Biden’s campaign chair, Jen O’Malley Dillon, wrote in a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) — the organization that has coordinated presidential debates for decades — that Biden won’t participate in any of its debates and will instead only do those hosted directly by news outlets.

“We believe the first debate should be in late June, after Donald Trump’s New York criminal trial is likely to be over and after President Biden returns from meeting with world leaders at the G7 Summit,” O’Malley Dillon wrote.

She added that it should be hosted by any broadcast organization that hosted a 2016 GOP primary debate in which Trump participated and a Democratic primary debate in 2020 in which Biden participated.

“A second presidential debate should be held in early September at the start of the fall campaign season, early enough to influence early voting, but not so late as to require the candidates to leave the campaign trail in the critical late September and October period,” the letter said.

Trump responded on Truth Social on Wednesday morning saying that he agrees to the proposed times: “I am Ready and Willing to Debate Crooked Joe at the two proposed times in June and September. I would strongly recommend more than two debates and, for excitement purposes, a very large venue, although Biden is supposedly afraid of crowds — That’s only because he doesn’t get them. Just tell me when, I’ll be there.”

“Let’s get ready to Rumble!!!” Trump added.

O’Malley Dillion listed proposed rules for the debates: firm time limits for answers, alternate turns to speak “so that the time is evenly divided and we have an exchange of views, not a spectacle of mutual interruption.” She added that a candidate’s microphone should be active only when it is his turn to speak.

The letter also proposed that the vice presidential debate should be held in late July after the Republican National Convention.

She explained that Biden’s campaign is opposed to the CPD’s debates because they are scheduled to “begin after the American people have a chance to cast their vote early, and doesn’t conclude until after tens of millions of Americans will have already voted.” She explained that the commission’s debates have become “huge spectacles with large audiences” and that it should just be the two candidates in a TV studio with the moderators. O’Malley Dillion also said that the CPD didn’t enforce its own rules in 2020.

Along with the letter, Biden posted a brief video on X challenging Trump to debate him. He joked that he hears Trump is free on Wednesdays, alluding to Trump’s New York criminal trial that isn’t in session that day.

“Donald Trump lost two debates to me in 2020,” he 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. I’ll even do it twice. So let’s pick the dates, Donald. I hear you’re free on Wednesdays.”

For his part, Trump indicated in February that he wanted to debate Biden “immediately,” saying: “I’d like to debate him now because we should debate. We should debate for the good of the country.”

In a letter in April, Trump’s co-campaign managers Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita said in a letter that the debates should be held as early as possible. “While the Commission on Presidential Debates has already announced three presidential debates and a vice-presidential debate to occur later this year, we are in favor of these debates beginning much earlier.”

The letter made clear Trump’s campaign is also in favor of moving up the debates because it would give voters a chance to see the candidates before they cast their ballots. They also said they would support adding even more debates, in addition to the three the CPD had previously scheduled.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.