Former Biden chief of staff Ron Klain says he will debate, 'rules' needed to control Trump

 April 29, 2024

Joe Biden's former chief of staff is adding pressure on his former boss to debate with Donald Trump.

Days after Biden made his most definitive commitment to debate, Ron Klain told MSNBC that Biden will show up, but the debates will have to be "different" with strict rules to keep Trump under control. 

"I think they will debate. President Biden said this week on Howard Stern’s show that he’s willing to debate him, and Trump was running around claiming he’d debate him anytime anywhere," Klain said.

Biden under pressure to debate

As Trump and Biden head to a rematch, Trump has been taunting his rival to get on the debate stage as questions loom about Biden's age and fitness for duty.

Biden told Howard Stern on Friday that he would be "happy" to debate Trump, who responded by saying Biden "doesn’t really mean it," although Trump offered three different dates for Biden to prove he is serious.

The 81-year-old president has been evasive about debating Trump, previously saying his commitment would depend on Trump's "behavior."

Trump's performance during the first presidential debate in 2020 was criticized by some as overly aggressive - at one point, Biden told his rival to "shut up."

At the time, Trump accused moderator Chris Wallace of bias. The former Fox News anchor infamously changed the subject when Trump brought up Hunter Biden's business deals, which were then being exposed in greater detail with the New York Post expose of his laptop.

Trump offers to debate ASAP

Biden probably didn't appreciate it when Klain, who no longer works for him, went on TV and doubled down on Biden's commitment to debate.

Klain told MSNBC anchor and former Biden press secretary Jen Psaki that Biden will likely join Trump on the stage at some point, but strict rules need to be enforced to avoid a "shouting match."

"We need to have debates where the candidates get equal time, where there is an orderly way of proceeding, where they can be heard, where it’s not a shouting match," he said.

The 2024 debates aren't scheduled to start until September, but Trump is challenging Biden to debate as soon as possible. Trump says he's ready "anytime, anyplace," including the White House.

“We’re ready. Just tell me where. I will do it at the White House. That would be very comfortable, actually," Trump said.

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