Joe Biden Says He’s “Happy to” Debate Donald Trump, Whose Team Quickly Agrees

At least one televised presidential debate might happen this election year after all.

President Joe Biden told radio host Howard Stern on Friday he’d be “happy to” debate former president Donald Trump.

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“I am somewhere,” Biden replied when asked if he would debate Trump during this election cycle. “I don’t know when. I’m happy to debate him.”

The comments represent a shift from Biden and his communications team’s previous hedging statements about the issue, which have led many to assume there simply wasn’t going to be a debate in the run-up to the November general election.

Trump’s campaign adviser Chris LaCivita quickly replied on X, “Ok, let’s set it up!”

Earlier this month, a dozen news organizations wrote an open letter urging Biden and Trump “to publicly commit to participating in general election debates before November’s election. … If there is one thing Americans can agree on during this polarized time, it is that the stakes of this election are exceptionally high. Amidst that backdrop, there is simply no substitute for the candidates debating with each other, and before the American people, their visions for the future of our nation.”

According to Fox News, Trump himself also posted a reply to the news on Truth Social, despite currently being on trial in New York for his hush-money indictment: “Crooked Joe Biden just announced that he’s willing to debate! Everyone knows he doesn’t really mean it, but in case he does, I say, ANYWHERE, ANYTIME, ANYPLACE, an old expression used by Fighters. I suggest Monday Evening, Tuesday Evening, or Wednesday Evening at my Rally in Michigan, a State that he is in the process of destroying with his E.V. MandateIn the alternative, he’s in New York City today, although probably doesn’t know it, and so am I, stuck in one of the many Court cases that he instigated as ELECTION INTERFERENCE AGAINST A POLITICAL OPPONENT – A CONTINUING WITCH HUNT! It’s the only way he thinks he can win. In fact, let’s do the Debate at the Courthouse tonight – on National Television, I’ll wait around!”

The White House hasn’t yet confirmed the president will indeed participate in a debate, and Biden’s team has faced some criticism for seeming to keep Biden from potential media moments where he might misstep (such as declining to participate in the traditional Super Bowl interview this year).

Trump has been pressuring the Biden team for months to commit to a debate, despite Trump ducking all four debates during the recent Republican primaries.

Trump and Biden faced off for just two debates in 2020 during the COVID pandemic, with Trump pulling out of a third.

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