Biden and Trump to Meet for June, September Debates

RFK Jr. says the two are colluding to avoid discussing eight years of ‘mutual failure.’
Biden and Trump to Meet for June, September Debates
(Left) President Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, N.C., May 2, 2024. (Right) and Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Waukesha, Wis., on May 1, 2024. (AP Photo)
Chase Smith
5/15/2024
Updated:
5/16/2024
0:00

The earliest televised presidential debate in history will take place on June 27 on CNN, a May 15 statement from the outlet confirmed. The announcement came hours after former President Donald Trump accepted an invitation from President Joe Biden earlier in the day for two debates in June and September.

The debate will be held at CNN’s studios in Atlanta, in a key battleground state for the November election. Notably, no audience will be present at the debate “to ensure candidates may maximize the time allotted in the debate.”

President Biden posted on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, that he had accepted CNN’s invitation.

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

President Trump posted on Truth Social that it was his “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.”

President Trump said he would also accept an ABC News debate against President Biden on Sept. 10. Shortly after, President Biden posted on X that he also accepted this debate.

“I’ve also received and accepted an invitation to a debate hosted by ABC on Tuesday, September 10th,” President Biden said in the post 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.”

For the CNN debate, the outlet said in the statement that the debate’s moderators and additional details will be announced at a later date.

The Biden campaign sent a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates on May 15 saying the president would not take part in the commission’s planned debates, preferring earlier debates before the early voting period in many states.
The Trump campaign also sent a letter to the commission in April, noting the same preference.

Candidates Agree to Requirements

The Biden campaign’s letter to the commission on May 15 called for the debates to be one-on-one, but President Trump said he would prefer a large audience, although the campaign has agreed to the CNN debate with no audience.

The outlet stated, “To qualify for participation, candidates must fulfill the requirements outlined in Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution of the United States; file a Statement of Candidacy with the Federal Election Commission; 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; agree to accept the rules and format of the debate; and receive at least 15 [percent] in four separate national polls of registered or likely voters that meet CNN’s standards for reporting.”

The proposals did not include any mention of independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who has, in some polls, received at least 15 percent of the vote but has not yet qualified on a sufficient number of state ballots to reach the 270 electoral votes required to secure the presidency.

The Kennedy campaign referred The Epoch Times to a post on X by the candidate, which criticized both candidates for keeping him out of the debate.

“Presidents Trump and Biden are colluding to lock America into a head-to-head match-up that 70 [percent] say they do not want,” Mr. Kennedy said in the post. “They are trying to exclude me from their debate because they are afraid I would win. Keeping viable candidates off the debate stage undermines democracy. Forty-three percent of Americans identify as independents. If Americans are ever going to escape the hammerlock of the two-party system, now is the time to do it. These are the two most unpopular candidates in living memory.”

Mr. Kennedy said that by excluding him, they are seeking to “avoid discussion of their eight years of mutual failure including deficits, wars, lockdowns, chronic disease, and inflation.”

CNN added that polls that “meet CNN editorial standards” include their own and those from ABC News, CBS News, Fox News, Marquette University Law School, Monmouth University, NBC News, The New York Times/Siena College, NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist College, Quinnipiac University, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.

Candidates must meet the requirements between March 13 and seven days before the debate, according to the outlet.

Trump Campaign Calls for More Debates

In a memorandum addressed to the Biden campaign headquarters, the Trump campaign escalated its calls for a series of debates leading up to the 2024 presidential election.

The letter, dated May 15 and signed by Chris LaCivita and Susie Wiles on behalf of Donald J. Trump for President 2024, Inc., expressed satisfaction that President Biden had agreed to engage in a debate with President Trump.

“Today is a good day for America’s voters, now that Joe Biden has FINALLY accepted President Trump’s debate challenge,” the memo reads.

The Trump campaign is advocating additional debates, suggesting that there should be one debate per month from June through September, in addition to the vice presidential debate. The campaign said the rationale behind this proposal is the belief that American voters deserve more opportunities to hear directly from the candidates, especially in light of current national issues.

“With the soaring inflation of Bidenomics costing America’s hardworking families at the grocery store and at the gas pump, with our border being totally overrun, with chaos at home, chaos across the world, chaos on our college campuses, we should have one debate per month,” the memo reads.

“We believe the American people deserve more than what the Biden administration has to offer.”

President Trump also posted on Truth Social on May 15 that he accepted another debate against President Biden on Fox News on Oct. 2, with hosts Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum as moderators.

However, it appears that the Biden campaign has, as of the afternoon of May 15, rejected the offer for any additional debates.

Ms. Dillon commented on behalf of the Biden–Harris campaign after President Trump’s call for additional debates, going as far as criticizing the former president’s “varying degrees of comprehension and basic grammar” in an emailed statement.

“Donald Trump has a long history of playing games with debates: complaining about the rules, breaking those rules, pulling out at the last minute, or not showing up at all – which he’s done repeatedly in all three cycles he’s run for president,” she said. “President Biden made his terms clear for two one-on-one debates, and Donald Trump accepted those terms. No more games. No more chaos, no more debate about debates. We’ll see Donald Trump on June 27th in Atlanta – if he shows up.”

Chase is an award-winning journalist. He covers national news for The Epoch Times and is based out of Tennessee. For news tips, send Chase an email at [email protected] or connect with him on X.
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