Biden campaign agrees to debate Trump but demands there be 'no audience'

 May 16, 2024


**In a surprise move on Wednesday, both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump appeared to agree, at least tentatively, to take part in two presidential debates in the coming months, with the first coming exceptionally early in June and the second coming in September.

An apparent sticking point in the secretive negotiations on the debates was an insistence by the Biden campaign that there be no live audience at the host venue, according to Biden 2024 communications director Michael Tyler.

The Biden campaign staffer declined to fully explain why they demanded there be no audience for the debate, but there is sure to be ample speculation about the possible reasons, such as his declining physical and mental health and increasingly apparent fragility.

CNN debate must be "in-studio, with no audience"

In an appearance on CNN, which will host the first debate, Tyler said the Biden vs. Trump matchup should be "in-studio, with no audience, so that the candidates can clearly articulate their vision for the country ..."

The CNN host repeatedly asked if the "no audience" demand was a "deal breaker" for the Biden campaign, but Tyler dodged the query and replied, "Listen, it's Donald Trump who said he would do this 'anytime, anywhere, anyplace.' So I don't think they should have any problems with what we have proposed."

Demand for no live audience possibly intended to protect Biden

The Associated Press also mentioned the Biden campaign's "no audience" demand in its reporting on the surprising tentative agreement with the Trump campaign on a pair of debates in June and September.

Biden campaign chair Jen O'Malley Dillon raised the audience issue in a letter she sent to the Commission on Presidential Debates -- which until now had managed all presidential debates since the early 1980s -- and provided only a marginally better explanation for why they didn't want anybody to watch the debates in-person.

"The debates should be conducted for the benefit of the American voters, watching on television and at home -- not as entertainment for an in-person audience with raucous or disruptive partisans and donors," she said.

What O'Malley Dillon may have been referencing without directly saying is Trump's arguably unique ability to play to a crowd and win them over with humorous lines that Biden would likely be incapable of deflecting or rapidly responding to in real-time without resorting to prescripted talking points that would likely prove ineffective and fall flat with a live audience.

Insults traded as both candidates appear to agree on debates

In a 14-second video posted to social media on Wednesday -- which included no less than five jump cuts to splice his separate sentences together -- President Biden said, "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 -- Well make my day, pal -- I'll even do it twice, so let's pick the dates, Donald," and added in a dig about the scheduling of Trump's ongoing criminal trial in New York, "I hear you're free on Wednesdays."

Later that morning, former President Trump posted to his Truth Social account, "It is my great honor to accept the CNN Debate against Crooked Joe Biden, the WORST PRESIDENT in the History of the United States and a true Threat to Democracy, on June 27th. Likewise, I accept the ABC News Debate against Crooked Joe on September 10th. Thank you, DJT!"

He added in a separate post, "Please let this TRUTH serve to represent that I hereby accept debating Crooked Joe Biden on FoxNews. The date will be Wednesday, October 2nd. The Hosts will be Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum. Thank you, DJT!"

However, the AP noted that a third debate on Fox News was unconfirmed, and a Politico report on the negotiations suggested that the Biden campaign's proposed terms seemed purposefully designed to exclude Fox News as a debate host -- ostensibly because the network didn't host a Democratic debate in 2020 but more likely because Biden would undoubtedly face tough questions and equal treatment from the Fox News moderators, unlike the favorable treatment he will likely receive from CNN and ABC News.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
© 2015 - 2024 Conservative Institute. All Rights Reserved.