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Biden, Trump gear up for first televised clash
Published on: Saturday, June 22, 2024
By: AFP
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Biden, Trump gear up for first televised clash
The showdown, scheduled for 9pm (0100 GMT, next Friday) in Atlanta, is the third between the two men. The last debates between Trump and Biden in 2020 were tension-filled affairs.
WASHINGTON: Marathon rehearsals, informal consultations, campaign rallies: Joe Biden and Donald Trump are each preparing in their own unique way for their televised debate next Thursday, the first in the 2024 race for the White House between the bitter rivals.

With a week to go, the Democratic president was set to head to Camp David, a mountainside retreat for US leaders close to the capital Washington, to hone his attack lines and rebuttals.

Few details have been released about the 81-year-old Democrat’s preparations, except that his former chief of staff Ron Klain will be involved, and that one of Biden’s aides will play the part of Trump in mock debates.

The Trump campaign has been downplaying the need for the formal dress rehearsals candidates usually plan, a change of tack from 2020 when the former president practiced with former New Jersey governor Chris Christie.

“President Trump takes on numerous tough interviews every single week and delivers lengthy rally speeches while standing, demonstrating elite stamina,” senior Trump advisor Jason Miller said in a statement.

“He does not need to be programmed by staff or shot up with chemicals like Joe Biden does.”

In lieu of traditional training sessions, Trump has surrounded himself with influential senators and vice-presidential candidates to discuss issues likely to come up, from foreign policy to immigration, according to media reports.

The Republican, who was convicted of 34 felony charges of business fraud in New York in May, has also reportedly been crafting possible responses for when the debate inevitably turns to his legal troubles.

The showdown, scheduled for 9:00pm (0100 GMT Friday) in Atlanta, is the third between the two men.

“It should be a big evening. They say Super Bowl numbers,” Trump told a crowd at his 78th birthday gathering in West Palm Beach, Florida, last week—predicting a large television audience.

The last debates between the two men in 2020 were tension-filled affairs, with Biden at one point snapping “will you shut up, man?” as Trump repeatedly talked over him.

This time, moderators for host network CNN have more tools than usual to maintain decorum, with the microphones muted throughout, except for the candidate whose turn it is to speak.

Biden outlined his debate strategy in a recent interview with ABC: “Say what I think. Let him say what he thinks.”

“The things he says are off the wall... I want to move in a direction where he talks about, you know, suspending the constitution,” Biden said.

“All I have to do is hear what he says—remind people what he says and what I believe, and what he believes. He’s about him. I’m about the country.”

Perhaps having learnt his lesson, Trump was anticipating a strong Biden debate performance as he suggested baselessly to rallygoers in Wisconsin on Tuesday that the president would likely be high on stimulants during the debate.

“He’s going to be so pumped up!” Trump said. 

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