Is Biden Planning to Duck a Debate with Trump? Is Trump In a Position to Complain?

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

I've always taken it for granted that candidates for office, especially the White House, would participate in debates, but maybe that isn't going to happen this year. Former President Trump has repeatedly challenged Biden to debate including once last week.

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“I’ll do it right now on your show, I’ll challenge him right now,” Trump gleefully told Laura Ingraham tonight after the Fox News host pressed him in a piece of staged political theater to debate his 2020 foe in 2024.  “We can do you, you can do anybody you want, Trump told Ingraham in the pre-recorded town hall as she offered to moderate at least one of the hypothetical debates. “I’ll take anybody from CNN, which is doing very poorly in the ratings by the ways as you probably know. I’ll take anybody because I think you have an obligation to debate.”...

Promising “as many as necessary,” when Ingraham asked Trump in front of a South Carolina crowd how many times he would meet up with the incumbent. “I would like to do it starting now,” Trump added in full general election mode now his nomination is almost assured. “I don’t think he is going to debate though. I really don’t think so.”

Here's that moment.

That's just the most recent challenge. Earlier this month, Trump said something similar on a different show.

“I’d like to call for, immediately, debates,” Trump said on “The Dan Bongino Show.”

“I’d like to debate him now because we should debate,” said the former president, who is the front-runner for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination. “We should debate for the good of the country.”

Biden dismissed the idea.

“Well, if I were him, I’d want to debate me too,” Biden told reporters at a boba shop in Las Vegas when asked about Trump’s challenge. “He’s got nothing else to do,” Biden added.

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Here's Biden's reaction:

A couple days ago Gov. Newsom was asked if Biden should debate Trump and Newsom said he "100 percent" thought Biden should do it.

I don't know if Newsom said that because he was cornered or not, but he probably knows it's not going to happen. Saying he should do it isn't the same as saying he will do it.

Other Biden supporters seem more obviously worried about what could happen if he did agree to a debate. Sunny Hostin basically wants Biden to deplatform Trump.

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I don't claim to know the future or what it is Biden's minders are thinking at any given moment but it just seems hard to imagine them wanting to put him on a stage with Trump knowing that every flub will be magnified because of the age issue.

As for Trump, I agree with him that the candidates should debate but he's put himself in a pretty poor position to make this argument having skipped every GOP debate. I don't think that should let Biden off the hook, but Trump isn't the person to carry this message.

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David Strom 6:40 PM | April 18, 2024
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