Biden and Trump agree to debate in June and September

US President Joe Biden and Republican rival Donald Trump have agreed to face off in two debates on June 27 and September 10, setting up the highest stakes moments yet of the race for the White House.

"As you said: anywhere, any time, any place," Biden said on social media.

Trump called Biden "the worst debater" he has ever faced. 

"I am Ready and Willing to Debate Crooked Joe at the two proposed times in June and September," he posted on social media.

CNN, a division of Warner Bros Discovery, said the first debate would be held in their Atlanta studio with no audience, and would be moderated by anchors Jake Tapper and Dana Bash. 

Georgia is one of November's most closely contested states.

The candidates also accepted an invitation from US TV station ABC, which will host a second debate on September 10.

A separate vice presidential debate has been proposed for July, after the Republican National Convention.

Key differences between the two sides remained on the terms of engagement. 

Biden said he would participate in those two debates under strict rules to reduce interruptions, while Trump called for more than two - and a very large venue "for excitement purposes".

Debates, which will draw a US live television audience in the tens of millions, are fraught with risks for both candidates, who face a tight race and low enthusiasm from voters.

Biden aides think debates could hurt Trump by exposing his positions on issues, including abortion, that they regard as political vulnerabilities.

Trump aides see Biden as prone to verbal slip-ups that could amplify voter concerns about the 81-year-old president's age. 

Trump will be 78 by the time the first debate is held.

"Both candidates will be under greater scrutiny than they have ever been due to their age," said Alan Schroeder, a professor emeritus at Northeastern University who wrote the book Presidential Debates: Risky Business on the Campaign Trial.

He called the debate "one of the only moments in which the candidates don't have complete control".

The first debate would take place after the June 15 conclusion of the G7 summit in Italy and Trump's criminal trial in New York.

Biden's debate proposal, the first formal offer by his campaign, ditched the decades-old tradition of three autumn debates and called for direct negotiations between the Trump and Biden campaigns over the rules.

Asked about any preference for format or topics, Biden-Harris campaign spokesman Michael Tyler said some details remained to be worked out.

The move to accept debates shows Biden is willing to take a calculated risk to boost his opinion poll numbers in a race in which he is trailing Trump in key battleground states. 

In addition to his age, voters remain concerned about Biden's handling of the economy.

Trump, who refused to debate his rivals during the Republican nominating race, has in recent weeks been challenging Biden to a one-on-one match-up with him, arguing that debates should be held before early voting begins in some states. 

He told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt the debate should be two hours long and that both men should be required to stand.

Biden's team earlier requested that only broadcast networks that hosted Republican primary debates in 2016 and Democratic primary debates in 2020 be eligible to host this year. 

Only four networks hosted debates for both parties during those election cycles: CNN, Telemundo, CBS News and ABC News.

The Biden team showed no signs of accepting Trump's invitation for more debates. 

A Biden campaign spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment on the issue.

Biden said he would not take part in the traditional televised showdowns organised by the Commission on Presidential Debates, rejecting the non-partisan organisation that has managed them since 1988.

Trump had also expressed interest in bypassing the commission, and the Republican National Committee announced in 2022 that the party would leave the commission's debate system altogether.

In a letter explaining the decision, Biden's campaign chair Jennifer O'Malley Dillon cited the commission's past struggles to keep candidates from violating debate rules. 

She notified the commission that Biden will not be participating in the three general-election debates sponsored by the group, which are scheduled for September 16, October 1 and October 9. 

The commission could not be reached for a comment.

Biden's campaign also pressed for a debate that would occur before early voting started and without the participation of Robert F Kennedy Jr or any other independent or third-party candidates.

"They are trying to exclude me from their debate because they are afraid I would win," Kennedy said on social media.

License this article

What is AAPNews?

For the first time, Australian Associated Press is delivering news straight to the consumer.

No ads. No spin. News straight-up.

Not only do you get to enjoy high-quality news delivered straight to your desktop or device, you do so in the knowledge you are supporting media diversity in Australia.

AAP Is Australia’s only independent newswire service, free from political and commercial influence, producing fact-based public interest journalism across a range of topics including politics, courts, sport, finance and entertainment.

What is AAPNews?
The Morning Wire

Wake up to AAPNews’ morning news bulletin delivered straight to your inbox or mobile device, bringing you up to speed with all that has happened overnight at home and abroad, as well as setting you up what the day has in store.

AAPNews Morning Wire
AAPNews Breaking News
Breaking News

Be the first to know when major breaking news happens.

Notifications will be sent to your device whenever a big story breaks, ensuring you are never in the dark when the talking points happen.

Focused Content

Enjoy the best of AAP’s specialised Topics in Focus. AAP has reporters dedicated to bringing you hard news and feature content across a range of specialised topics including Environment, Agriculture, Future Economies, Arts and Refugee Issues.

AAPNews Focussed Content
Subscription Plans

Choose the plan that best fits your needs. AAPNews offers two basic subscriptions, all billed monthly.

Once you sign up, you will have seven days to test out the service before being billed.

AAPNews Full Access Plan
Full Access
  • Enjoy all that AAPNews has to offer
  • Access to breaking news notifications and bulletins
  • Includes access to all AAPNews’ specialised topics
Join Now
AAPNews Student Access Plan
Student Access
  • Gain access via a verified student email account
  • Enjoy all the benefits of the ‘Full Access’ plan at a reduced rate
  • Subscription renews each month
Join Now
AAPNews Annual Access Plan
Annual Access
  • All the benefits of the 'Full Access' subscription at a discounted rate
  • Subscription automatically renews after 12 months
Join Now

AAPNews also offers enterprise deals for businesses so you can provide an AAPNews account for your team, organisation or customers. Click here to contact AAP to sign-up your business today.

Download the app
Download AAPNews on the App StoreDownload AAPNews on the Google Play Store