Biden and Trump Agree to Debate Twice Before November Election. Here Are the Terms

Former President Trump Holds Rally In Schnecksville, Pennsylvania

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump have agreed to meet for a pair of televised debates before the Nov. 5 election.

The first debate will be on June 27 hosted by CNN, the network announced Wednesday, giving voters an opportunity to hear from both candidates before casting their ballots. The second will be hosted by ABC on Sept. 10. Both candidates accepted invitations to the debates, they said.

[time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”]

“Donald Trump lost two debates to me in 2020. Since then he hasn’t shown up for a debate,” Biden said in a video message posted earlier in the day on X. “Now he’s acting like he wants to debate me again. Make my day pal. I’ll even do it twice.” Biden referenced Trump’s ongoing New York hush-money trial by joking that he is “free on Wednesdays,” the usual day off in the trial.

Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee who refused to debate his rivals in the primary race, responded to a proposal by the Biden campaign by saying he is “ready and willing” to debate. He has in recent weeks been challenging Biden to engage in a one-on-one matchup with him, offering to debate the President “anytime, anywhere, anyplace.”

Read More: How Far Trump Would Go

“Crooked Joe Biden is the WORST debater I have ever faced – He can’t put two sentences together!” Trump wrote on Truth Social. “I am Ready and Willing to Debate Crooked Joe at the two proposed times in June and September.”

Trump said he accepted an invitation for a third debate on Oct. 2 hosted by Fox News, though it’s unclear if Biden will agree. Trump’s campaign also proposed holding two additional debates in July and August.

Biden campaign chair Jen O’Malley Dillon said in a letter that Biden would not take part in the traditional televised showdowns organized by the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates, citing the commission’s late schedule and past struggles to keep candidates from violating the debate rules. Trump has also leveled criticisms against the commission, arguing that it is biased against him and begins too late in the campaign season.

The Biden campaign proposed several criteria for how the debates should be structured, calling on the debates to be hosted by a broadcast organization that moderated a Republican primary debate in 2016 as well as one that did so in the Democratic primary in 2020, “so neither campaign can assert that the sponsoring organization is obviously unacceptable.” Moderators for the debate, the Biden campaign argued, should be “selected by the broadcast host from among their regular personnel, so as to avoid a ‘ringer’ or partisan.”

Read More: Biden’s Campaign Is In Trouble. Will the Turnaround Plan Work?

“There should be firm time limits for answers, and alternate turns to speak — so that the time is evenly divided and we have an exchange of views, not a spectacle of mutual interruption,” O’Malley Dillon wrote in the letter. She also argued that the debates should be conducted for voters to watch on television from their homes instead of in front of live audiences “with raucous or disruptive partisans and donors, who consume valuable debate time with noisy spectacles of approval or jeering.” 

Trump said he disagreed with Biden’s call not to debate in front of a crowd. “I would strongly recommend more than two debates,” Trump wrote on Truth Social. “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!!!’”

While both candidates have agreed to at least two debates, Biden’s team is signaling skepticism that Trump will stick to the plan. ““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,” O’Malley Dillon said in a statement. “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.”

Biden also called for a vice presidential debate to take place in late July after the Republican National Convention.