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Biden, Trump agree to two debates ahead of November general election

In this combination of photos, President Joe Biden speaks on Aug. 10, 2023, in Salt Lake City, from left, former President Donald Trump speaks on July 8, 2023, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo, File)

Election season is heating up with the two frontrunners vying for the Oval Office set to face off in at least two debates as November rapidly approaches.

CNN announced on Wednesday that both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump have agreed to take the stage in Atlanta, Ga. on June 27. The two have also agreed to meet up for another round of political discourse on September 10 at an event hosted by ABC News. The announcement comes hours after Biden challenged Trump to a pair of debates ahead of the general election.

“Donald Trump lost two debates to me in 2020, and since then, he hasn’t shown up for a debate. Now he’s acting like he wants to debate me again,” Biden said in a social media video on Wednesday morning. “Well, make my day, pal. I’ll even do it twice. So, let’s pick the dates, Donald. I hear you’re free on Wednesdays.”

The upcoming debates will look a little different this year. Per requests from Biden, the incumbent and Democratic nominee, the events will deviate from ones that have been set by the Commission on Presidential Debates for decades. The main distinction Biden called for was the lack of an audience. Trump, the GOP hopeful, promptly called out his opponent for not wanting spectators in attendance.

“I am Ready and Willing to Debate Crooked Joe at the two proposed times in June and September,” Trump wrote on Truth Social. “I would strongly recommend more than two debates and, for excitement purposes, a very large venue, although Biden is supposedly afraid of crowds — That’s only because he doesn’t get them.”

Another request from the Biden camp was the exclusion of Independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., from the debate stage. Kennedy voiced his displeasure with the decision to leave him out of the limelight and accused the Democratic and Republican candidates of colluding against him.

“Presidents Trump and Biden are colluding to lock America into a head-to-head match-up that 70% say they do not want. They are trying to exclude me from their debate because they are afraid I would win. Keeping viable candidates off the debate stage undermines democracy,” Kennedy wrote on X.

“Forty-three percent of Americans identify as independents. If Americans are ever going to escape the hammerlock of the two-party system, now is the time to do it. These are the two most unpopular candidates in living memory. By excluding me from the stage, Presidents Biden and Trump seek to avoid discussion of their eight years of mutual failure including deficits, wars, lockdowns, chronic disease, and inflation.”

Biden is running on the platform of fighting climate change, restoring abortion access for women, and advancing voting rights efforts for those disenfranchised in the country. Trump, on the other hand, is looking to secure the southern border, impose tariffs on imported goods to promote American production, and roll back Biden’s environmental regulations to incentivize oil drilling on U.S. soil.

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