Biden’s campaign proposes June and September for debates against Trump

May 15, 2024
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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s 2024 campaign on Wednesday challenged Republican nominee Donald 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, 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 accepted an invitation from CNN to participate in a debate on June 27.

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

Biden’s campaign chair, Jen O’Malley Dillon, wrote in a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates — 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.

Donald Trump And Joe Biden Participate In First Presidential Debate
Then-President Donald Trump and then-Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participate in the first presidential debate on Sept. 29, 2020.Win McNamee / Getty Images file

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 only be active 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 CPD’s debates have become “huge spectacles with large audiences” and said 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 each week.

“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 has indicated in recent months that he’s interested in debating Biden. In February, he said that he wanted to “immediately” debate him, 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 they 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.






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