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Biden challenges Trump to 2 debates but won’t participate nonpartisan commission’s debates

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden said Wednesday on social media that he won’t participate in the campaign debates sponsored by a nonpartisan commission, instead challenging Republican Donald Trump to a pair of debates.

“Donald Trump lost two debates to me in 2020,” Biden posted on X, the site formerly known as Twitter. “Since then, he hasn’t shown up for a debate. Now he’s acting like he wants to debate me again. Well, make my day, pal.”

The Democrat suggested that the two candidates could pick some dates, taking a dig at Trump’s ongoing hush money trial by noting that the Republican is “free on Wednesdays,” the usual day off in the trial.

In addition to the post, Biden campaign chair Jen O’Malley Dillon sent a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates to say that Biden would not participate in its announced debates, choosing instead to participate in debates hosted by news organizations.

The president first indicated he would be willing to debate Trump during an interview with the radio host Howard Stern last month, telling him that “I am, somewhere. I don’t know when. But I’m happy to debate him.”

Biden indicated again last week that he was preparing to debate, telling reporters as he was leaving a White House event: “Set it up.”

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Trump has repeatedly dared Biden to debate him, keeping a second podium open at rallies and claiming that his rival would not be up for the task.

Trump, too, has taken issue with the debate commission, but he and his team have maintained that they don’t care who hosts the debates as long as they happen.

The Trump campaign issued a statement on May 1 that objected to the scheduled debates by the Commission on Presidential Debates, saying that the schedule “begins AFTER early voting” and that “this is unacceptable” because voters deserve to hear from the candidates before ballots are cast.

Trump said at a Pennsylvania rally before his hush money trial began that the debates were needed.

“We have to debate because our country is going in the wrong direction so badly,” Trump said with the empty podium next to him. “We have to explain to the American people what the hell is going on.”

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