Trump Says He Doesn't Mind RFK Jr. Joining Presidential Debates

Former President Donald Trump on Thursday said he would be open to having independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. join him and President Joe Biden on the debate stage next month.

Trump and Biden on Wednesday agreed to take part in two debates with the first one to be hosted by CNN next month in Atlanta.

In an interview with Scripps News, Trump said he wouldn’t mind Kennedy taking part in the debates as long as he met the criteria.

“I think he’s really not doing well in the polls at all,” Trump said. “His numbers have gone down a lot lately but I would have no problem if he got whatever the threshold is. But he’s very low and he seems to be heading in the other direction, in the wrong direction.”

“If he qualified, I would have no problem,” Trump continued.

CNN said that for a candidate to qualify for participation, their name would have to appear on a sufficient number of state ballots to reach the 270 electoral vote threshold to win the presidency prior to the eligibility deadline, and they would have to receive at least 15% in four separate national polls of registered or likely voters, among other things.

ABC News, which will host a second presidential debate in September, set similar requirements.

Kennedy appears confident he will meet CNN’s criteria for joining.

As of Thursday, according to CNN, Kennedy’s name is on the ballot in six states, meaning he would be eligible for 89 electoral votes, and he has received the required threshold in two qualifying polls.

However, Biden’s campaign has signaled the president would not agree to take part if RFK Jr. qualified.

“The debates should be one-on-one, allowing voters to compare the only two candidates with any statistical chance of prevailing in the Electoral College — and not squandering debate time on candidates with no prospect of becoming President,” Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, Biden’s campaign chair, wrote in a memo.

Meanwhile, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN’s Manu Raju Wednesday she disagreed with Biden’s decision to debate Trump, suggesting instead that the two candidates should have held separate town halls.

“I myself would never recommend going on stage with Donald Trump. But the president has decided that’s what he wants to do,” she said.

During Thursday’s interview, Trump also confirmed there’s a “pretty good chance” he will announce his running mate during the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee in July.

The former president’s VP shortlist reportedly includes Sens. Tim Scott (S.C.), J.D. Vance (Ohio) and Marco Rubio (Fla.).