Will Biden and Trump face one another in presidential debates? There’s no commitment yet

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), a member of the Biden campaign’s national advisory board, also said Biden and Trump should debate.“They’re about democracy,” Khanna said of the debates. “And it’s important for the American people to understand the different visions of the candidates. Absolutely, the president should debate in the three fall debates that are traditional, and Donald Trump should debate and not be afraid of that.”While many political observers are looking ahead to a Biden-Trump rematch, Haley is still trying to get the former president’s attention in the Republican primary. The former U.N. ambassador has challenged Trump to “man up” for what she calls the “ultimate mental competency test,” referencing the exam for early onset dementia and other cognitive disorders that he took while in the White House. Her campaign has had someone dressed in an inflatable chicken costume appear at events holding a sign reading, “Trump Too Chicken To Debate.”But the Republican National Committee stopped scheduling primary debates after the fourth debate in Alabama in December. The last one-on-one debate between Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was hosted by CNN on Jan. 10 in Iowa.Trump is pushing Haley to drop out of the primary and taunting Biden instead. He called on Biden to start debating now “for the good of the country” despite the general election being eight months away.“I’d like to debate him now because we should debate. We should debate for the good of the country,” Trump said last week on The Dan Bongino Show, saying that Biden “can’t do it because he can’t talk.”Biden in response laughed and said, “If I were him I’d want to debate me too. He’s got nothing else to do.”Biden’s staff has repeatedly declined to commit to his participation in debates. His campaign visited Alabama before the last GOP primary debate to hold a press conference. Asked then if Biden himself would debate in the fall, deputy campaign manager Quentin Fulks said officials would “look at the schedule.”“We will have those conversations,” Fulks said. “But right now,” Fulks added, “our focus is on making sure we continue to build out a campaign and infrastructure that’s going to be able to be competitive in 2024.”Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, who was the GOP’s 2012 nominee and participated in three debates against President Barack Obama, said “of course” Trump and Biden should debate.“This is a democracy of the United States of America. We need to hear from the people who want to be president and see if they have mental capacity and see what their positions are on issues,” Romney said. “It’s one thing to say you passed a competency test. But it’s another thing to actually have the American people listen to you debate. I want to hear both President Biden and President Trump.”Romney dismissed Trump’s vendetta against the debate commission, as well as the Biden campaign’s noncommittal position on debates, as “excuses.”“People always find excuses for why they don’t want to debate,” Romney said. “But you got a couple of old guys that don’t want to have people see how old they are.”There’s at least one example — albeit in a key swing state rather than a national election — of a Democrat skipping debates and winning the election anyway.

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