Debate agreement: Biden gets to make the rules, Trump gets to debate

Debate agreement: Biden gets to make the rules, Trump gets to debate

Pictured: Donald Trump and Joe Biden during a 2020 presidential debate. 

Debate agreement: Biden gets to make the rules, Trump gets to debate

Now that the Biden and Trump campaigns have agreed to participate in two presidential debates, with a list of Biden-favoring stipulations, a media watchdog says President Biden got everything he wanted.

Trump has been publicly daring Biden to debate him for weeks, likely expecting the aging president to decline, but now the Biden campaign has agreed to a first debate that is now six weeks away, June 27.

The host of the first debate is Trump-bashing CNN, and liberal network ABC News will host the second debate scheduled for September 10.

One stipulation Biden demanded -- and Trump agreed to -- is the lack of a live audience for the CNN debate.

Another stipulation agreed to by both Trump and Biden is to ignore the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates. The organization has overseen presidential debates going back decades and had already announced plans to hold three presidential debates, one in September and two in October.

By pushing the Commission to the side, both candidates were likely attempting to keep presidential candidate Robert Kennedy, Jr. off the stage, some political observers have concluded. 

Kennedy, whose independent run could hurt both campaigns, stated on X this week he will "meet the criteria" to participate in the CNN debate. 

Nicholas Fondacaro, of the Media Research Center,  says agreeing to debate moderators from CNN and ABC News eliminates Fox News, the only Trump-friendly news network Trump could have chosen.  

Fondacaro, Nicholas (MRC) Fondacaro

“Trump has been having his own issues with Fox, so I think it makes sense that he sort of agrees to not give them any,” Fondacaro observes. “At the same time, you have to see who it is that Biden was demanding: CBS, ABC, CNN, Telemundo.”

MRC and its staff make a living documenting the liberal news bias on cable news and the network news, so Fondacaro was not surprised President Biden happily agreed to sympathetic moderators who are not on the payroll at Fox News.

“He picked them for a reason, right?” Fondacaro says.

Reacting to the debate news, conservative activist Janet Porter says Biden will enter the debates with liberal moderators and biased questions on his side, but she predicts those advantages won’t do Biden any good against Trump.

“I believe that the American people are going to see the stark difference of who stands for closing the borders, protecting America, an economy that is stable, for life, for liberty,” she says. “There's no question about it.”

In a Fox News op-ed about the debates, political analyst Howard Kurtz said Biden was forced into a political corner due to the possibility of losing re-election. "Joe had to do something to shake things up," he writes.