Biden-Trump Debates: What You Should Know as Trump Pushes for Two More Faceoffs

 What to Know About the Biden-Trump Debate as Trump Pushes for Two More Faceoffs

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump accepted invitations from CNN and ABC to participate in June and September debates on Wednesday, marking a watershed moment in the 2024 election cycle ahead of their historic rematch in November—though Trump is requesting two more debates on NBC and Fox News.

On Fox, Biden's team appeared to reject Trump's offer of a debate: Campaign spokesman Jen O'Malley Dillon accused Trump of "continuing to play games with presidential debates" since Fox did not sponsor a 2020 Democratic primary debate, as Biden had requested.

The abrupt turn of circumstances comes after Trump pushed Biden for months to agree to a debate, and Biden stated for the first time in a Howard Stern interview last month that he would be willing to participate. 

Biden's campaign announced their proposed debate schedule, stating that he would not participate in debates produced by the Commission on Presidential Debates (which has conducted debates for presidential candidates since the 1980s) but would instead engage in debates hosted by TV networks. 

Biden's campaign stated that it was rejecting the commission because of its failure to enforce regulations in the 2020 debates, its tradition of staging debates in front of huge audiences, and its intention to start debates in September, when early voting begins.

Trump and Biden have clashed during the debates. Biden previously stated that his choice to debate Trump would be based on his "behavior," whereas Trump has stated since at least February that he is ready to debate Biden "now." After Biden told Stern he was "happy" to debate Trump, the former president stated that he was prepared to debate "anywhere, any time, and any place." 

Biden responded to Trump's announcement on Wednesday, asking him to "make my day, pal, I'll even do it twice," and adding, "I hear he's free on Wednesdays," a reference to Trump's Manhattan hush money trial schedule, which includes a weekly break on Wednesdays.

According to the Biden campaign, the debate hosts should be news organizations that sponsored Trump's 2016 GOP primary debate and Biden's 2020 Democratic primary debate, "so neither campaign can assert that the sponsoring organization is obviously unacceptable." 

It also wants "firm time limits for answers and alternate turns to speak," as well as muffled microphones when it's not a candidate's turn to speak. 

It's uncertain whether Trump will agree to the muffled mic rule; he and his campaign grumbled about the protocol in the second 2020 presidential debate after constantly interrupting Biden in the first.

Possibly not. CNN and ABC's debate guidelines stipulate that candidates must get at least 15% support in four separate national surveys of registered voters and appear on enough state ballots to secure the 270 electoral votes required to win the president. 

The four other famous candidates running—independents Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Cornel West, Green Party candidate Jill Stein, and Libertarian Lars Mapstead—all poll below 15%. Kennedy is the closest to achieving the polling criteria, with 8% support in a three-way contest with Trump and Biden in an April Reuters survey, but he has only earned ballot access in six states, accounting for 125 electoral votes. 

Trump claimed on Truth Social that the Biden campaign purposefully designed the debate qualifications to exclude Kennedy, claiming that the president "does not want RFK Jr. in the debates because Junior' is far left him... and sharper and far more intelligent," adding that he does not care if Kennedy participates.

CBS said Thursday that the Biden campaign has accepted an invitation to host a vice presidential debate between Vice President Kamala Harris and Trump's running mate. Trump is anticipated to reveal his running partner closer to the Republican National Convention on July 15. The Biden team first suggested scheduling the VP debate after the RNC, and CBS has proposed July 23 or August 13.

Previous Post Next Post