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Biden says he would be 'happy to debate' Trump

The president made the remark Friday in an interview with radio host Howard Stern amid Donald Trump's calls for a debate.
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President Joe Biden said Friday during a one-on-one interview with radio host Howard Stern that he is willing to debate Donald Trump ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

"I am, somewhere, I don’t know when, but I am happy to debate him,” Biden said in the interview.

Biden and his campaign have deflected in recent months on the question of a debate. When asked in February about Trump's calls for debate, Biden merely said, “If I were him, I’d want him to debate me, too. He’s got nothing else to do.”

In response to Biden's remark on Friday, a Trump campaign adviser, Chris LaCivita, said in a post to X, "Ok let’s set it up!"

A few hours later, Trump responded in a post on his social media site, calling on the president to do the debate as early as Friday night.

"Crooked Joe Biden just announced that he’s willing to debate! Everyone knows he doesn’t really mean it, but in case he does, I say, ANYWHERE, ANYTIME, ANYPLACE," Trump's post said.

The post went on to suggest the pair debate "Monday Evening, Tuesday Evening, or Wednesday Evening at my Rally in Michigan," or — since both were in New York City Friday — to do it Friday night at the courthouse where Trump is currently being tried in a criminal hush money case.

Biden's new openness to debate comes after Trump has been advocating for a chance to go head-to-head with the president on stage as polling on the two presumptive presidential nominees tightens.

Despite Trump's refusal to participate in any of the Republican primary debates, he has repeatedly called on Biden to debate him throughout the election cycle with posts to his social media site and at his rallies.

A dozen major news organizations also urged the two rivals in joint statement earlier this month to commit to debating one another.

During the nearly 75-minute interview with Stern, Biden spoke in depth about his family's history, being candid about his father's prior business struggles, the loss of his first wife and infant daughter in a car accident, and the death of his son Beau to cancer, at which point his voice caught with emotion.

Later, Stern pushed the president to speak about recent rulings by the Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority, including three justices appointed by Trump. The radio host specifically mentioned the court's ruling in June 2022 that overturned its landmark Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 that guaranteed women the right to have abortions — which Biden and Democrats consider a winning issue for them in November.

“Does it drive you crazy?” Stern asked, prompting Biden to reply, “It’s a really extremely conservative court, maybe the most conservative court in modern history.”

Biden went on to say, “This is not your father’s Republican Party,” adding that several Republican senators have come to him saying that they agreed with some of his criticisms of Trump, including over his actions surrounding the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, but felt threatened by the former president's influence.

“Over the last few years, I’ve had seven senior Republican senators — but two are gone now — seven senior Republican friends call me to tell me, ‘Joe I agree with you, but I just can’t do it. He’ll go — he’ll get me,’” Biden said.

When Stern asked Biden why he thought some longtime Republican politicians, like former President George Bush, hadn’t more forcefully criticized Trump, Biden responded, “I don’t think the election is over yet on that score.”