'Make my day, pal': Biden challenges Trump to two televised debates

Presidential candidates are expected to face each other in June and September

US President Joe Biden, left, has stepped up criticism of former president Donald Trump, right, as the election season heats up. AFP
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US President Joe Biden on Wednesday challenged his Republican rival, Donald Trump, to two televised debates ahead of what is expected to be a close race on election day in November.

Donald Trump lost two debates to me in 2020. Since then, he hasn't shown up for a debate,” Mr Biden said in a video posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“Now he's acting like he wants to debate me again,” he said. “Make my day, pal. I'll even do it twice.”

Hours later, Mr Trump accepted the offer, issuing his own barbs.

“Crooked Joe Biden is the WORST debater I have ever faced – He can’t put two sentences together!” he wrote in a post on his Truth Social platform.

“I am Ready and Willing to Debate Crooked Joe at the two proposed times in June and September.”

He added that he would recommend more than two debates “for excitement purposes”.

The first debate has been set for June 27, with CNN hosting the event from the battleground state of Georgia.

The second debate is scheduled for September 10, hosted by ABC News.

The development comes as US election season heats up ahead of the vote, scheduled for November 5.

The vote would be a rematch between Mr Biden, who is running for re-election, and Mr Trump, his one-term predecessor.

Mr Biden, 81, faces low approval ratings amid concerns by American voters over his age, the economy and his handling of the Israel-Gaza war.

Polls show Mr Biden trailing Mr Trump in key battleground states.

But Mr Trump also faces challenges of his own.

He has been charged in four separate criminal cases, including a continuing hush-money trial in New York that requires him to attend court nearly every day.

“So let's pick the dates, Donald. I hear you're free on Wednesdays,” Mr Biden said in the video, seemingly taking a swipe at the weekly breaks on Wednesday in Mr Trump's court sessions.

During the Republican primary race, Mr Trump, who was leading his rivals by double digits, refused to participate in party debates, but in recent weeks, he has been challenging Mr Biden to take on a one-on-one debate with him.

Updated: May 21, 2024, 1:01 PM