WASHINGTON − President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign is unwilling to commit to debating Donald Trump next fall before the 2024 presidential election if the indicted former president is the Republican nominee in a Biden-Trump rematch.
“To be honest with you, we haven’t really had any substantive conversations about that yet,” Michael Tyler, the Biden campaign’s communications director, told reporters Tuesday ahead of Wednesday’s first Republican primary debate in Milwaukee.
Trump, the Republican primary frontrunner, is skipping this week’s primary debate, and the future of general-election debates is unclear.
The Republican National Committee last year voted to no longer take part in debates hosted by the Commission on Presidential Debates, alleging left-wing bias from the historic organizer.
Biden debated Trump twice in 2020. A third debate was canceled after Trump contracted COVID and his campaign refused a debate commission proposal to make the sparring match virtual.
The Democratic National Committee is not sponsoring any debates ahead of the 2024 Democratic primary as Biden faces nominal opposition from Democratic challengers Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Marianne Williamson.
Biden campaign sharpens attacks on abortion ahead of first Republican debate
As for Wednesday’s primary debate, the Biden campaign is using the moment to cast all the Republican candidates − not just Trump − as part of an extreme “MAGA” Republican Party led by Trump that “undermines democracy” and opposes apportion rights.
“Whether he’s on the stage or not, his extreme agenda will be,” Cedric Richmond, a senior Biden campaign advisor, said in a call with reporters. “And the only thing that will be missed is the chaos, the disruption, the bullying, the name-calling of former President Trump.”
Democrats previewed plans to attack Republican candidates’ position on abortion, in particular, a year after the Supreme Court Roe V. Wade.
The Biden campaign launched a $25 million television ad blitz – its largest since Biden announced his reelection bid in 2024 – to coincide with the first Republican primary debate. The first ad, a 30-second spot airing in Wisconsin, frames Biden’s domestic agenda as fighting for the middle class.
Democrats also previewed plans to aggressively attack Republican candidates’ position on abortion a year after the Supreme Court Roe V. Wade.
“You will not hear a single one of these extreme candidates pledge to veto a national ban,” said Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., a Biden campaign surrogate. “They reality is that none of these candidates trust women to make these decisions for themselves because they believe that they know better.”
Reach Joey Garrison on X @joeygarrison and Francesca Chambers @fran_chambers.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden campaign unwilling to commit to debating Trump