Jake Tapper Selected to Moderate Presidential Debate in June

President Joe Biden and Republican challenger Donald Trump have agreed to face off in two presidential debates on June 27 and September 10 that will not be hosted by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

The two candidates accepted invitations from CNN and ABC News following a flurry of negotiations last Wednesday.

The Biden campaign notified the Commission on Presidential Debates that it would not participate in the three debates the commission scheduled starting on September 16 but would instead accept direct invitations from individual news outlets.

The president then posted a video on social media announcing that he accepted CNN’s invitation to participate in a June 27 debate on the cable network. In the brief 13-second video that featured multiple edits, Biden challenged Trump to accept CNN’s invitation, reminding the former president of his offer to debate “anywhere, any time, any place.”

The Trump campaign quickly accepted CNN’s invitation as well.

CNN later announced that it would host the June 27 debate at its studio in Atlanta. Under the conditions set by the Biden campaign, the debate will not include a live audience.

The June 27 debate will begin at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time and will be moderated by CNN anchors Jake Tapper and Dana Bash.

The September 10 debate will air on ABC.

Under the conditions set by the networks, the participating candidates must be eligible to serve as president and have a statement of candidacy filed with the Federal Elections Commission. The candidates must also appear on enough state ballots to make it possible to reach the 270 electoral vote threshold required to win the White House. They must also receive a minimum of 15 percent in at least four national polls of likely or registered voters.

The conditions make it highly unlikely that third-party challenger Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will qualify for either debate.

In a statement on X, RFK Jr. accused Biden and Trump of “colluding” with the networks to exclude him from the debate, claiming that the two candidates “are afraid I would win.” Kennedy said preventing “viable candidates” from participating in the debates “undermines democracy.”

The Trump campaign also pushed for two additional debates in July and August. However, the Biden campaign has indicated that the president would only agree to participate in two.