Biden and Trump agree to debates in June and September on CNN and ABC News

President Joe Biden and Donald Trump had scheduled two debates on Wednesday after the Democratic incumbent president bluntly challenged his Republican predecessor.

CNN will air the first presidential debate on June 27 at 9pm ET in Atlanta, without a studio audience. Both candidates agreed to a second debate hosted by ABC News on September 10.

Trump's campaign Wednesday also called for two other debates, in July and August.

“Make my day, friend,” Biden said in a speech video which was released earlier Wednesday, challenging Trump to debate him twice, under special conditions.

Biden's campaign said both showdowns would be conducted by media organizations, without the involvement of nonpartisans Commission which usually organizes presidential debates. The campaign also pushed for just the two main party candidates and a moderator, with no studio audience for either showdown.

“Just tell me when, I'll be there,” Trump wrote in a Truth Social post accepting Biden's challenge. “Let's get ready to rumble!!!”

“I am ready and willing to debate Crooked Joe at the two proposed times in June and September,” Trump added.

CNN said the June debate would only include candidates whose names appear on a “sufficient number of state ballots to reach the 270-vote electoral threshold to win the presidency before the eligibility deadline.”

The network also said that participants had to receive “at least 15% in four separate national polls of registered or likely voters that meet CNN's reporting standards.”

Robert Kennedy Jr., who is running for the White House as an independent, received the support of 13% of respondents in a recent NBC News poll, and 16% in a CNN poll this month.

In a letter Wednesday to the Commission on Presidential Debates, Biden campaign chairman Jen O'Malley Dillon said the campaign declined to participate in the organizational debates scheduled for September 16, October 1 and October 9.

“The longstanding presidential commission model for these debates is inconsistent with changes in the structure of our elections and the interests of voters,” O'Malley Dillon wrote to the group, which has organized debates since 1988.

The committee said on Wednesday it is still “ready to carry out its planned debates”.

Biden's campaign objected to the committee scheduling the debates after early voting had already begun and treating the debates more as an entertainment program, O'Malley Dillon wrote.

She also said the committee has consistently failed to enforce debate rules, leading to “noisy displays of approval or booing.”

During the 2020 debates, Biden and Trump frequently broke out into shouting matches as each tried to come into their own.

This time, Biden's campaign argued, each candidate should have set time limits for answering questions, and if a candidate does not speak, their microphone should be turned off.

Biden's proposal to hold the first debate in June stated it would take place after the expected end of Trump's hush money trial in New York and Biden's appearance at the G7 summit.

Biden's campaign also suggested that the vice presidential debate would take place in the latter part of July, after the Republican National Convention, when the party officially nominates its presidential candidate.

The second presidential debate would take place in September, after the Democratic National Convention in August.

The debates would exclude any other candidate for the White House, including Kennedy, “and not waste debate time on candidates who have no prospect of becoming president,” O'Malley Dillon wrote.

Kennedy objected on Wednesday to the possibility that he will not be able to participate in the debates with Biden and Trump.

“By excluding me from the stage, Presidents Biden and Trump are trying to avoid discussion of their eight years of mutual failure, including deficits, wars, lockdowns, chronic diseases and inflation,” Kennedy wrote in a post on the social media site .

Biden's debate proposal comes after a recent debate New York Times A poll showed the incumbent president trailing his Republican challenger in key states including Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, less than six months away from what many expect will be a near-deadly election.

Given Biden's popularity issues, the parameters for the debate could see the candidates compete on policy issues rather than the applause of a raucous crowd.

In Biden’s video on Wednesday, posted on X, the president said: “Donald Trump lost two debates to me in 2020. He hasn't shown up for a debate since. Now he acts as if he wants to debate me again.”

“Well, make my day, buddy. I even do it twice. So let's pick the dates, Donald,” Biden said.

“I hear you're free on Wednesday,” the president said, referring to the day when the court does not convene for Trump's ongoing trial.

Trump wrote in his Truth Social post: “Crooked Joe Biden is the WORST debater I have ever seen – he can't put two sentences together! Crooked is also by far the WORST president in the history of the United States.”

Trump added: “It's time for a debate so he can expose to the American people his highly destructive open borders policies, new and ridiculous EV mandates, allowing crushing inflation, high taxes and his truly WEAK foreign policy, which that the world will 'catch on fire'. I am ready and willing to debate Crooked Joe at the two proposed times in June and September.”

“I would highly recommend more than two debates and, for excitement purposes, a very large room, although Biden is supposedly afraid of crowds — that's only because he doesn't get them,” Trump wrote.

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