Joe Biden Says He'd Be 'Happy' To Debate Donald Trump

The president also criticized the media for going easy on Trump. "I think some of them are worried about attacking him," he told SiriusXM's Howard Stern.

President Joe Biden said Friday that he’s willing to debate presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump before November’s election, a shift in his stance after previously being noncommittal about the idea.

“I am, somewhere. I don’t know when,” the president told SiriusXM’s Howard Stern when asked if he’s planning to debate his predecessor. “I’m happy to debate him.”

Last month, Biden said that he was open to debating Trump but added that doing so depended on the former president’s “behavior.”

Some commentators have argued that Biden should skip the debates entirely this year because standing on a stage with Trump would normalize his unprecedented efforts to overturn the 2020 election, which culminated in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection.

Democratic lawmakers have also questioned the wisdom of the president debating Trump, even though they say it’s ultimately a decision for Biden to make.

“Normally, I’m in favor of debates, but Donald Trump is not exactly your traditional candidate,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) told HuffPost earlier this week. “I think the American people are going to judge them by a long record of each candidate on the issues, and personality and integrity. A debate may be really superfluous here.”

“I watched him do outrageous things and say outrageous things,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said of Trump in a Hill report from January. “It’s just an opportunity for him to display his extremism.”

Trump, meanwhile, has been taunting Biden on the campaign trail, calling for more debates than usual and placing an empty lectern on the stage at his rallies to represent where Biden could stand.

“I am trying to get him to debate,” Trump said earlier this month. “Anytime, anyplace.”

Trump didn’t participate in the 2024 GOP presidential primary debates despite repeated calls from his rivals to join them on stage. The ex-president said he saw no reason to debate since he was leading the race.

On Friday, Trump’s campaign welcomed Biden’s comments indicating that he’d be willing to debate the ex-president.

“Ok let’s set it up !” Trump campaign adviser Chris LaCivita wrote in a social media post.

Trump himself later invited Biden to debate on stage at his upcoming rally in Michigan or at the courthouse in New York City, where he is on trial for falsifying business records related to hush money he paid to silence adult film star Stormy Daniels.

“Let’s do the Debate at the Courthouse tonight - on National Television, I’ll wait around!” Trump said in a post on his social media platform Truth Social.

During his interview with Stern, Biden also criticized those in the U.S. media whose coverage of Trump he believes has been too soft-handed.

“The free press is not speaking up as much as it used to,” Biden said. “I think some of them are worried about attacking him, worried about taking him on.”

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