‘I’m Ready To Go,’ Trump Quips After Biden Makes Offer To Debate Him Twice

‘Well, make my day, pal,’ President Biden says. ‘I’ll even do it twice.’

AP, file
President Biden on January 5, 2024, and President Trump on January 19, 2024. AP, file

“I’m ready to go,” President Trump is snapping back at President Biden’s offer to join him for two televised presidential debates in June and September. “The dates that they proposed are fine…Let’s see if Joe can make it to the stand-up podium.”

Mr. Trump’s quick response, reported by Fox News’s Brooke Singman on Wednesday, gives the green light to direct negotiations between the 2024 presidential rivals. If this promise rings true, it will be the first time that either candidate engages in any sort of campaign debate since 2020 — this time, though, Mr. Biden is demanding there be no live audience and that third party candidates such as Robert F. Kennedy Jr. be excluded. 

Mr. Trump decided to abstain from the Republican primary debates last fall, instead releasing a pre-recorded interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson. 

“Donald Trump lost two debates to me in 2020, and since then he hasn’t shown up for a debate,” Mr. Biden said in a video released Wednesday in which he proposed the idea. “Now he is acting like he wants to debate me again. Well, make my day, pal. I’ll even do it twice.”

Both candidates agreed that the first debate will be held at Atlanta on June 27 and will be hosted by CNN. The second debate will be September 10 and be hosted by ABC.

Mr. Biden made his offer to debate on the condition that the events be hosted by broadcast networks that aired Republican primary debates in 2016 and Democratic primary debates in 2020 — which means only four networks: CNN, ABC News, Telemundo and CBS News. The moderator should be a “regular personnel” of their broadcast network, Mr. Biden insisted. He also is asking for strict time limits for answers and microphones that are only on during each candidate’s turn to ensure equal speaking time.

The president also proposed a separate vice-presidential debate that would take place in July, after the Republican nominating convention and before the Democratic convention.

The proposed format would mark a departure from the decades-old tradition of three fall meetings organized by the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates. In a letter to the commission explaining the decision, Mr. Biden’s campaign chair, Jen O’Malley Dillon, pointed to issues with scheduling and getting candidates to respect the rules of the debates, which have turned into “entertainment for an in-person audience with raucous or disruptive partisans and donors, who consume valuable debate time with noisy spectacles of approval or jeering.”

Mr. Trump seems to be embracing the offer to square off against his opponent, “even if it has to be held through the offices of the Commission on Presidential Debates, which are totally controlled by Democrats and who, as people remember, got caught cheating with me with debate sound levels,” he told Ms. Singman. The 45th president reportedly insisted: “It is time for a debate to take place.”


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