Biden says he's "happy to debate" Trump before 2024 election

Biden says he’s “happy to debate” Trump before 2024 election

Washington — President Biden signaled for the first time publicly that he is willing to debate former President Donald Trump, his presumptive Republican opponent, ahead of November’s general election.

Asked during an hour-long interview on Howard Stern’s show on SiriusXM if he would debate his rival, Mr. Biden replied, “I am, somewhere. I don’t know when. I am happy to debate him.”

Mr. Biden said in March that his commitment to a debate with Trump “depends on his behavior.” Asked about a debate during a trip to Nevada in February, Mr. Biden said, “If I were him, I’d want him to debate me, too. He’s got nothing else to do.”

post on Truth Social, writing that “[e]veryone knows he doesn’t really mean it, but in case he does, I say, ANYWHERE, ANYTIME, ANYPLACE.”

News organizations have also urged the two men to commit to face off. CBS News and 11 other news outlets issued a statement earlier this month urging the two to publicly state their commitments to a debate in the fall. 

Trump and the GOP have had a turbulent relationship with the Commission on Presidential Debates, the nonpartisan group that has organized general election debates since 1988. In 2022, the RNC unanimously voted to ban future GOP presidential nominees from participating in debates put on by the committee. Then-RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel called the commission “biased” and pressed for reforms on how moderators were selected.

Trump did not participate in any 2024 GOP primary debates, repeatedly citing his lead in polling over his GOP challengers. But in an April letter to the CPD, his campaign’s senior advisers wrote they agree with the “letter from television networks” and asked for the general election debates to begin “much earlier” to account for early voting periods. 

“We have already indicated President Trump is willing to debate anytime, anyplace, and anywhere — and the time to start these debates is now,” the Trump officials wrote.

The Biden campaign directed further questions about a potential debate to Mr. Biden’s answer to Stern on Friday. 

In 2020, Mr. Biden and Trump debated twice. One debate was canceled after Trump tested positive for COVID-19.

In November 2023, the CPD announced the dates for three presidential debates in 2024: Sept. 16, Oct. 1 and Oct. 9. One vice presidential debate is also scheduled for Sept. 25.