1 week ago

Biden trolls Trump as the two agree to debate in June

  • President Joe Biden and Donald Trump have agreed to debate in June. 

  • Biden also trolled the former president.

  • The president's campaign is selling a t-shirt that pokes fun at Trump's Manhattan criminal trial.

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump agreed on Wednesday to an unprecedented June presidential debate.

The two candidates quickly accepted CNN's offer to attend a June 27th debate at the news network's Atlanta studios. It will easily be the earliest televised, major presidential debate in history. There will be no audience, an occurrence that hasn't happened for decades. Debate moderators were not immediately announced.

Unlike other debates, CNN's June event appears to be set to air exclusively on the network's platforms. While viewers will be able to watch the contest on CNN.com without a cable subscription, there was no indication that the live debate will be aired on competing networks. In comparison, 16 networks aired live coverage of the first 2020 presidential debate. An estimated 73.1 million people tuned in, per Nielsen.

Presidential debates are traditionally one of the most viewed TV events of the year, a rare exception to the almost universal dominance that sporting events hold on the live TV calendar. It remains to be seen how ratings will be affected if only CNN airs the debate.

Earlier in the day, Biden's campaign proposed two presidential debates outside the traditional nonpartisan organization that has scheduled such contests for decades. Trump has since indicated that he will accept that offer, though there's only a detailed agreement on the June date.

Biden's reelection team started selling a "Free on Wednesdays" shirt to tout their debate proposal before Trump accepted the June proposal. The shirt is a not-so-subtle reference to Trump's ongoing Manhattan criminal trial. Trump is in court most of the week and has fallen asleep throughout the trial. One of the few exceptions is Wednesdays when Justice Juan Merchan has scheduled breaks in the proceedings.

"Trump's acting like he wants to debate the President," the item's description reads. "We hear he's free on Wednesdays. Let's do it!"

The shirt costs $32 and is the latest example of a burgeoning trend where campaigns try to make money from merchandise to meet short-lived trends. Non-traditional merchandise can be lucrative to campaigns; Trump's 2020 reelection famously made more than $450,000 from plastic straw sales alone.

In accepting Biden's broad invitation, Trump said the pair should meet more than twice. Traditionally, presidential candidates square off three times, including a town hall-style debate.

"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," Trump wrote on Truth, his social media platform. "Just tell me when, I'll be there. 'Let's get ready to Rumble!!!;'"

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