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Biden and Trump debate: First round of US presidential candidates' duel

Biden and Trump debate: First round of US presidential candidates' duel Joe Biden and Donald Trump (collage by RBC-Ukraine)
Author: Maria Kholina

The pre-election debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump will take place on June 27. The current and former US presidents will meet in a TV studio without an audience, unable to interrupt each other or use cheat sheets.

RBC-Ukraine has gathered all the details about the Biden-Trump debate.


Main information on the US presidential debates

US presidential candidates Joseph Biden and Donald Trump have agreed to two rounds of debates before the November 2024 election.

Their first meeting will take place in CNN's studio in Atlanta today, June 27, at 9:00 PM (4:00 AM on June 28 in Kyiv). ABC News will organize the second round on September 10.

For the first time in history, presidential debates are happening this early in the election campaign (four months before voting) and before the official nomination of candidates by the Republican and Democratic parties (scheduled for July-August).

No audience or notes: Debate rules

Biden and Trump previously debated in 2020, but this year’s political duel will have a different format.

According to the organizers' decision, there will be no audience in the studio during the debates. This rule only applied during the first televised debates in the US in 1960 between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. All subsequent pre-election meetings of candidates had a studio audience.

The podiums and the order of closing remarks were determined by a coin toss: Biden will stand at the podium on the right, and Trump will have the last word.

The debates will last an hour and a half with two commercial breaks. The candidates will not have opening statements, but each will have two minutes for closing remarks.

Дебати Байдена і Трампа. Що відомо про перший раунд "двобою" кандидатів у президенти США

Photo: debates will be held under new rules (collage by RBC-Ukraine)

When one participant speaks, the other's microphone will be turned off, unlike previous debates where Trump frequently interrupted Biden.

Participants are prohibited from communicating with their teams. They are also not allowed to have pre-prepared notes. Only a blank notebook, pen, and water will be on the tables.

Preparations of Biden and Trump

The presidential candidates have chosen different ways to prepare for the debates.

According to CBS News sources, Joe Biden isolated with a team of trusted individuals in a "debate camp" in Maryland. The president's team was led by former Chief of Staff Ron Klain, who has worked with Biden in various roles for 40 years. The preparation program included mock debates, with Biden’s personal attorney Bob Bauer playing the role of Trump.

According to the publication, Biden's team views the debates as an opportunity to highlight the president's accomplishments and vision for the next four years while comparing them to the former president. Biden’s team announced that Americans will see two different visions of the future on stage in Atlanta.

In contrast, Donald Trump refused rehearsals and wanted to demonstrate a stark contrast with his opponent during the debates.

The former president held several informal meetings with his allies and continued his campaign. Last weekend, he spoke at a rally in Philadelphia, and immediately after the debate, he plans a campaign event in Virginia, as Trump’s team intensifies efforts in states where Biden won in 2020.

On the eve of the debates, Trump joked about whether he should be "tough and nasty" and just say: 'You are the worst president in history'? or "nice and calm" and let Biden speak.

Дебати Байдена і Трампа. Що відомо про перший раунд "двобою" кандидатів у президенти США

Photo: Donald Trump continues his campaign on the eve of the debate (Getty Images)

Additionally, Trump’s allies may attempt to discredit Biden’s performance. The Hill noted that if Biden wins the debate, Trump’s team plans to claim that Biden took some unspecified substance.

Key issues: Topics likely to be raised

Both candidates have served as president, so it is expected that each will talk about their achievements and emphasize the problems their opponent couldn’t solve while in office.

ABC News writes that Trump will almost certainly accuse Biden of causing a surge in migrants at the southern border, blame him for inflation, and criticize the current president’s foreign policy on conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza.

Meanwhile, Joe Biden will likely mention the Capitol riots in January 2021 and Trump’s involvement. Notably, the former president is accused of inciting the protesters to storm the Capitol.

The abortion ban is another key issue where Biden is expected to draw a comparison between his approach and Trump’s.

This involves the US Supreme Court's decision to overturn the nationwide right to abortion, allowing dozens of states to restrict or ban the procedure. Biden’s team calls the Supreme Court’s decision Trump’s achievement, as he appointed three justices during his presidency, forming a majority to make favorable decisions.

"Donald Trump is the only person responsible for this nightmare. If given the chance, there is no doubt he will ban abortions across the country, with or without Congress’s help," Biden said.

Additionally, several notable events occurred ahead of the debates that each candidate may use to attack the other.

For Trump, these will be his first debates following a court verdict in a criminal case. The former president was found guilty in a case involving hush money paid by his lawyer Michael Cohen to porn actress Stormy Daniels.

Biden’s team will likely use Trump’s criminal case in the debates. "Trump approaches the first debate as a convicted criminal who continues to prove that he will do anything and hurt anyone if it means more power and revenge," said Biden’s campaign communications director Michael Tyler.

Meanwhile, Trump may bring up Hunter Biden, the current president’s son, who was recently convicted of gun possession charges.

Trump also mentioned Hunter Biden during the 2020 debates, accusing him of corruption and calling President Biden the head of the "Biden crime family."

Дебати Байдена і Трампа. Що відомо про перший раунд "двобою" кандидатів у президенти США

Photo: Biden may use the criminal case against Trump in the debate (Getty Images)

Trump is expected to focus on the current president’s age. Biden, the oldest US president at 81, is a frequent target of attacks from Trump and his team, with edited videos circulating online depicting Biden as confused or misspeaking during public speeches.

However, 78-year-old Trump has also made mistakes, confusing or forgetting people’s names. Although, as ABC News notes, polls show less concern about Trump’s mental fitness for office compared to Biden.

A source close to the former US leader told CNN anonymously that undoubtedly, the debates will show that Trump is the stronger candidate and better choice, especially when everyone sees the sharp contrast with Biden, physically, mentally, and otherwise.

According to journalists, Donald Trump aims to convince voters that he can be a more resilient and effective leader than his opponent, despite his legal troubles and deep policy differences.

Sources: The Hill, CNN, ABC News, and CBS News.