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Biden, Trump agree to election debates

Joe Biden and Donald Trump agreed Wednesday to hold presidential debates in June and September after the Democratic incumbent challenged his rival to “make my…

Joe Biden and Donald Trump agreed Wednesday to hold presidential debates in June and September after the Democratic incumbent challenged his rival to “make my day” and the scandal-plagued Republican replied he was ready to “rumble.”

News channel CNN announced it will hold the first debate on June 27 in Atlanta, Georgia. Trump and Biden later said they had agreed on a second debate to be hosted by broadcaster ABC on September 10.

The agreement ends months of uncertainty over whether the candidates would debate at all, and sees both the Democrat and the Republican shunning the traditional commission that has run debates since 1988.

Biden, 81, set out his own terms including having no studio audience, seeking to avoid a repeat of the often chaotic debates with political showman Trump in the 2020 election.

Trump, 77, accepted the dates even as he set out a starkly different vision with a larger venue for “excitement purposes” while his campaign called for adding debates in July and August.

“Donald Trump lost two debates to me in 2020. Since then, he hasn’t shown up for a debate. Now he’s acting like he wants to debate me again. Well, make my day, pal,” Biden said in a video on X.

Biden trolled Trump over his ongoing hush money trial in New York, which features a mid-week break, adding: “I hear you’re free on Wednesdays.”

Announcing he’d accepted the ABC invitation, Biden added: “Trump says he’ll arrange his own transportation. I’ll bring my plane, too. I plan on keeping it for another four years.”

Trump later announced that he had agreed to a third debate on conservative network Fox News on October 2 – a Wednesday – but there was no immediate word from the president on whether he had accepted an invitation to take part.

CNN confirmed there would be no audience for its debate, saying it would “ensure candidates may maximise the time allotted.”

Biden’s debate offer appeared to show him taking the calculated risk of putting Trump back into American living rooms ahead of November’s election, hoping it could reverse the Republican’s poll lead in a series of battleground states.

The Biden campaign has increasingly been trying to remind voters of what they say is the true face of the mercurial president who lost in 2020, amid what they fear is Trump “nostalgia” – even as the Republican details his stark vision for introducing unprecedented levels of presidential power in a second term and taking “retribution.”

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