Joe Biden running scared: US President refuses to commit to 2024 presidential debates

Joe Biden

The Biden campaign said it is focusing on "a national campaign footprint"

George Bunn

By George Bunn

Published: 08/12/2023

- 11:27

It comes as Biden's 2020 rival, Donald Trump, has skipped all Republican primary debates

President Joe Biden’s campaign has not committed to general election debates next year.

It is the latest sign that a staple of modern White House campaigns may not go ahead for the 2024 vote.

One of Biden's top campaign managers told reporters on this week that the president’s re-election campaign would "look at the schedule" that the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates released last month.

Biden’s top deputy campaign manager Quentin Fulks said his focus was on assembling a national campaign footprint.

Biden and Trump

Biden and Trump in a 2020 debate


Fulks said: "We will have those conversations...but right now our focus is on making sure we continue to build out a campaign and infrastructure that’s going to be able to be competitive in 2024."

When pressed again, Fulks shifted the focus to Trump and the GOP’s “divisive primary, where their front-runner is not attending debates,” adding that Team Biden “is focusing on what we need to do to win an election next year."

Trump has skipped all GOP primary debates, including Wednesday’s gathering at the University of Alabama.

However, the Republican frontrunner has said a general election campaign would be different.

Donald Trump and Joe Biden

Donald Trump and Joe Biden faced off in the 2020 election


Trump told Fox News host Bret Baier: "We have to debate. He and I have to definitely debate. That’s what I love. The two of us have to debate.”

The commission’s schedule calls for three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate in 2024.

The two major party nominees would be invited to meet September 16 at Texas State University in San Marcos, south of Austin.

A vice presidential debate is scheduled nine days later at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania.

Presidential debates are also planned for Virginia State University in Petersburg on October 1 and the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on October 9.

The Republican primary candidates were required to sign a pledge vowing to participate in only those debates sanctioned by the Republican National Committee.

Donald Trump did not sign the pledge.

Election Day is set to take place on November 5.

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