President Biden responded to former President Trump’s challenge to an “immediate” debate on Monday.
Trump had issued the challenge during a Monday radio appearance with conservative commentator Dan Bongino, saying a debate would be “good” for the country.
“I’d like to debate him now because we should debate. We should debate for the good of the country,” Trump said.
Biden was asked about Trump’s comments later that day while campaigning in Nevada.
“Immediately? Well, if I were him, I’d want to debate me, too. He’s got nothing else to do,” Biden told reporters.
With Trump holding a commanding lead in the GOP primary, the outlook for general election debates is uncertain. The Republican National Committee withdrew from the Commission on Presidential Debates in 2022, and Trump himself has called the organization “corrupt.”
“They’re totally corrupt. They’re totally Democrat-leaning, that’s being nice when I use the word leaning,” Trump said in December, according to NBC News. “They are totally corrupt, and they’re terrible. With that being said, I would do 20 debates even if it was organized by them. I’ll do as many debates as they want. I’d do a debate every night with this guy. But he’ll never show up to a debate.”
Trump’s newfound willingness to debate comes after he flatly rejected calls to debate his challengers in the GOP primary race.
Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, the sole remaining challenger to Trump, participated in multiple debates with other candidates while Trump was absent.
Trump and his campaign argue that his massive lead in GOP polls freed him of any obligation to debate distant challengers.
The debate commission has so far scheduled three general election debates, though neither Trump nor Biden have publicly agreed to them. The debates are scheduled for Sept. 16 at Texas State University in San Marcos, Oct. 1 at Virginia State University in Petersburg, and Oct. 9 at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, according to NBC.
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