CNN To Host First 2024 Presidential Debate on June 27

By Ethan Alter 

Presidential debates are typically a fall tradition during an election year. But that tradition has been broken for 2024’s uniquely contentious election cycle. CNN announced Wednesday that it would be hosting the first debate between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump on June 27. The debate will air live at 9 p.m. ET across CNN platforms—including CNN International, CNN Max and CNN.com—and is set to be moderated by anchors Jake Tapper and Dana Bash.

Not to be outdone, ABC News quickly locked up a second debate set for Sept. 10 at a yet-to-be decided location. David Muir and Linsey Davis will moderated that encounter, which will be carried on ABC, ABC News Live and Hulu, and will be available to simulcast on other networks.

Those twin announcements come on the heels of fresh reporting by The New York Times, which indicated that the Biden campaign would be parting ways with the Commission on Presidential Debates, the nonpartisan organization that’s overseen the typical three-debate fall calendar since 1988.

According to a letter written by Biden campaign chair Jennifer O’Malley Dillon and obtained by the Times, Biden informed the commission that he’s opting out of their already-scheduled debates for Sept. 16, Oct. 1 and Oct. 9. The campaign instead plans to work directly with news organizations to host at least two match-ups with Trump following a specific set of conditions, including a strict time limit for answers and a TV studio setting with no audience in attendance.

Accordingly, CNN’s June 27 debate will take place in the network’s Atlanta studios and no spectators will be admitted. As of now, only Biden and Trump are participating, but a press release announcing the debate revealed that third-party candidates like Robert F. Kennedy Jr. could also qualify if they meet a strict set of requirements.

The Times reports that the Biden campaign intends to approach other news networks about hosting a subsequent debate in September, using proposed criteria to narrow the field of eligible outlets. O’Malley Dillon’s letter indicates that criteria requires potential networks to have hosted a 2016 Republican primary debate featuring Trump, as well as a 2020 Democratic primary debate featuring Biden. CBS News, ABC News, CNN and Telemundo are among the news outlets that satisfy those requirements.

For the record, those networks were also among the consortium of outlets that issued an open letter earlier this year urging Biden and Trump to participate in the traditional fall debates hosted by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

Ahead of CNN’s announcement, Biden issued a formal challenge to his Republican rival on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Make my day, pal,” the president said.

Trump responded to Biden on his social media platform, Truth Social, writing: “I am ready and willing to debate Crooked Joe at the two proposed times in June and September. I would strongly recommend more than two debates. Just tell me when, I’ll be there. ‘Let’s get ready to Rumble!!!'”

Look for the first part of that rumble to go down in Atlanta on June 27.

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