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Trump, Biden trade jabs, agree to...

Trump, Biden trade jabs, agree to debate

By: Frank Corder - May 15, 2024

In this combination photo, President Joe Biden speaks May 2, 2024, in Wilmington, N.C., left, and Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, May 1, 2024, in Waukesha, Wis. (AP Photo)

  • In agreeing to debate, President Biden tells former President Trump, “Make my day, pal.” Trump responds, calling Biden the “worst President in the history of the United States.”

President Joe Biden, the incumbent Democrat, and former President Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for the White House for a third consecutive cycle, have agreed to attend two debates, one coming in June and the other in September.

The June debate will be hosted by CNN while ABC will air the September pairing.

Of note, neither of the political parties will have held their nominating conventions prior to the June debate, as the Republican National Convention starts July 15th in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, while the Democratic National Convention begins August 19th in Chicago, Illinois.

Early Wednesday morning, the New York Times obtained a letter addressed to the Commission on Presidential Debates that said President Biden was willing to debate the former President at least twice before early voting began, but the Biden campaign would bypass the Commission that has managed presidential debates since 1988. Instead, negotiations for the debates would occur between the campaigns and the television networks.

Trump’s campaign had previously questioned the Commission’s planned debate schedule, noting that it was “unacceptable” that the fall forums would be held after early voting began in some states.

A statement from the Commission on Wednesday said, “Our 2024 sites, all locations of higher learning, are prepared to host debates on dates chosen to accommodate early voters. We will continue to be ready to execute this plan.”

The Biden campaign’s terms for the debate included holding the forum inside a TV studio without an audience, with microphones that automatically cut off when a speaker’s time limit expires. Biden also did not want the participation of third-party candidates, such as Robert Kennedy, Jr.

In a video released from the Biden campaign, the President directly called out Trump, challenging him to accept his debate offer.

“Donald Trump lost two debates to me in 2020. Since then, he hasn’t shown up for a debate. Now he’s acting like he wants to debate me again,” Biden said. “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.”

Trump’s court schedule in the New York hush money criminal trial does not convene on Wednesdays.

In response, Trump took to Truth Social calling Biden “the worst debater I have ever faced” and the “worst President in the history of the United States.”

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

The CNN debate is slated for June 27th at the outlet’s Atlanta studio while the ABC forum looks to be September 10th.

Trump also announced that he has accepted an offer from FoxNews to debate Biden on October 2nd, which the Biden campaign has not agreed to.

What Mississippi’s Party Leaders are Saying

Mike Hurst, the newly minted Chairman of the Mississippi Republican Party, was happy to hear the news of the debates.

Mike Hurst

“I am glad to see President Biden has emerged from the White House basement to finally agree to publicly debate President Trump,” Hurst told Magnolia Tribune. “The American people deserve to see their presidential candidates debate, and specifically for President Biden to justify, without a teleprompter, his decisions that have caused inflation to surge, our economy to decline, and our border to be overrun by illegal aliens.”

Hurst said the debates will confirm for all Americans that Republican policies and principles will make the country better.

Mississippi Democratic Party Chairman State Rep. Cheikh Taylor said that while it is still unclear as to whether Trump’s legal woes could prevent him from participating in the November General Election, “there will be a lot of energy from both sides.” He said Biden was “seasoned and ready to continue to lead.”

“I am confident in the abilities of the Democratic Party and President Biden. That’s why we’re gearing up to hold out state convention on May 25th to elect delegates to go to the national convention to support and be unified behind President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris,” Taylor told Magnolia Tribune. “When it comes to the debate, we know that often times, when it comes to Trump, facts are left out of the equation.”

Mississippi Republicans recently met for their state convention, where Hurst was elected as chairman. The party also hosted Trump’s daughter-in-law and co-chair of the Republican National Committee Lara Trump.

State Rep. Cheikh Taylor

The Mississippi Democratic Party chairman said there has been a huge investment by the Mississippi Republican Party to bring in national GOP leaders to “solidify and bolster Trump’s campaign.”

“There is a particular investment that they [Republicans] want to have happen here in Mississippi, and that’s why I’m urging national Democrats to do the same thing,” Taylor said. “This race is so important. Most people will consider it a race of a lifetime.”

Chairman Taylor said Republicans in Mississippi, particularly in the Legislature, are hoping Trump wins “just so he will institute or accept Medicaid expansion with a work requirement,” a move the Democratic leader calls “diabolical.”

“So, there’s a lot at stake in this race. Student loan forgiveness, bailing out HBCUs, and other things, like helping with the infrastructure in the City of Jackson,” Taylor continued. “That’s Democrats. That’s Joe Biden. So, you don’t have to look very far to see the impact of the Biden Administration here in Mississippi. That’s the Biden Administration, not Republican ingenuity.”

What the Polls Say

According to the latest national polling averages compiled by FiveThirtyEight, Trump is leading Biden by 0.7%, with Trump at 41.2% and Biden at 40.5% as of May 15th.

Recent surveys reported by The New York Times, Siena College and The Philadelphia Inquirer show Trump ahead among registered voters in a head-to-head matchup against Biden in five of six key states: Michigan, Arizona, Nevada, Georgia and Pennsylvania.

The surveys show Biden leading in only one battleground state – Wisconsin.

During the 2020 election, Trump bested Biden in Mississippi winning 57.6% to 41.1%. Trump also won the Magnolia State over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016, pulling in 57.9% to Clinton’s 40.1%.

About the Author(s)
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Frank Corder

Frank Corder is a native of Pascagoula. For nearly two decades, he has reported and offered analysis on government, public policy, business and matters of faith. Frank’s interviews, articles, and columns have been shared throughout Mississippi as well as in national publications. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, providing insight and commentary on the inner workings of the Magnolia State. Frank has served his community in both elected and appointed public office, hosted his own local radio and television programs, and managed private businesses all while being an engaged husband and father. Email Frank: