Biden says he’ll debate Trump twice: ‘Make my day’

By Thomson Reuters May 15, 2024 | 7:28 AM

By Doina Chiacu and Nandita Bose

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden said on Wednesday he was willing to debate Republican presidential rival Donald Trump twice before the Nov. 5 election but would not take part in the traditional televised showdowns organized by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

“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 on X. “Now he’s acting like he wants to debate me again. Make my day pal. I’ll even do it twice.”

Biden called on Trump to join him for two televised presidential debates in June and September. His proposal, outlined in a letter and a video, called for direct negotiations between the Trump and Biden campaigns over the rules, network hosts and moderators for the one-on-one meetings.

The Democratic president took a swipe at Trump’s legal troubles in the video with an oblique reference to the weekly break in Trump’s hush money trial in New York.

“So let’s pick the dates, Donald. I hear you’re free on Wednesdays,” Biden said.

Asked about any preference for format or topics, the Biden-Harris campaign spokesman Michael Tyler told MSNBC in an interview there were still some details to work out, including network moderators.

“The question now becomes, will Donald Trump keep his word? Will he step up to the plate here? We haven’t heard from him yet but we’ll be waiting all day,” Tyler said.

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Trump, who refused to debate his rivals in the Republican primary race, has in recent weeks been challenging Biden to engage in a one-on-one match-up with him, offering to debate the incumbent Democrat “anytime, anywhere, anyplace.”

(Reporting by Doina ChiacuEditing by Susan Heavey and Gareth Jones)