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Biden, Trump campaigns agree to debates in June, September

By Chris Benson
President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump agreed Wednesday to a pair of debates in June and September. File Pool Photo by Morry Gash/UPI
1 of 3 | President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump agreed Wednesday to a pair of debates in June and September. File Pool Photo by Morry Gash/UPI | License Photo

May 15 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will face off in a pair of debates in June and September, their campaigns agreed Wednesday.

CNN confirmed Wednesday morning that it will host the first debate in Atlanta on June 27 at 9 p.m., with ABC later announcing it will host the second debate at ABC News studios on Sept. 10.

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In a Wednesday letter, Biden campaign Chair Jen O'Malley Dillon had proposed a June debate date "after Donald Trump's New York criminal trial is likely to be over and after President Biden returns from meeting with world leaders at the G7 Summit," along with another proposed date in September.

By mid-morning, the White House reported that it had already gotten an invite by a network with a specific June date.

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"I've received and accepted an invitation from CNN for a debate on June 27. Over to you, Donald. As you said: anywhere, any time, any place," Biden said on X a little after 10 a.m. local time.

"Let's get ready to Rumble!!!" Trump said in a post on Truth social earlier Wednesday morning accepting Biden's challenge.

Trump also took to Truth Social to say he would "recommend more than two debates and, for excitement purposes, a very large venue."

He also told Fox News the proposed dates were "fully acceptable" to him.

"I will provide my own transportation," Trump added.

Trump, now 77, has not been on a debate stage since 2020 during the last round with Biden, 81, and has notably skipped every Republican presidential debate.

Trump had recently asked the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates to move the previously scheduled debates "much earlier" than its original September date. The commission, which has run all presidential debates since 1988, refused Trump's request which he called "unacceptable."

Biden's challenge to Trump was a kick to the commission which last year in November had originally set the 2024 presidential debates to begin in mid-September at Texas State University, Virginia State University and University of Utah.

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In her letter to the commission, O'Malley Dillon gave several reasons for the campaign's decision to extricate itself from the planned debates that echoed similar sentiments given by Trump weeks prior in his ask for earlier debates.

O'Malley Dillon said the first debate's planned September date would be "after tens of millions of Americans will have already voted," and alluded to "huge spectacles" which entertain versus "good debates" and she expressed disappointment from 2020 and how the commission was "unable or unwilling to enforce the rules," an allusion to Trump's unwillingness to stop talking at many points.

"We are advising you now of this decision, months in advance of the dates you announced you are planning for, to enable you to avoid incurring further production, and other expenses on the assumption that the Democratic nominee, President Biden, will participate," Biden's campaign chair wrote. "For the reasons stated above, he will not."

But now that both presidential candidates have seemingly got what they wanted with earlier debates by removing themselves from a decades-old tradition of dealing with the commission, calls are coming by others for the previously agreed-upon locations to stay the same.

"Now that Biden and Trump are discussing debates, one thing is clear," Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., said on X before 11 a.m. local time. "The first ever presidential debate at an HBCU, Virginia State University, should go forward as planned."

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