Light Wave


Trump now says he’d face Republican rival in debate under certain conditions

By Jake Beardslee · December 22, 2023

In brief…

  • Has declined participating in Republican primary debates so far
  • Despite criticism, would debate Biden in general election even if organized by Commission
  • Says he'd do as many debates as wanted against Biden
  • Biden team has hinted president may skip debates after Trump didn't do GOP ones
Trump open to debating GOP rival if New Hampshire primary race tightens.  Ali Shaker/Wikimedia

Former President Donald Trump stated on Friday that he would be open to debating one of his Republican primary challengers if the race is very tight after the New Hampshire primary next month. Trump has so far declined to take part in any of the four GOP primary debates held so far, pointing to his substantial lead in polls and questioning if there would be any benefit to him sharing the debate stage with other candidates. While Trump continues to lead polls by a wide margin nationally, his advantage is smaller in some state polls. In particular, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has started to close in on Trump in surveys of New Hampshire voters.

When asked if he would debate another Republican contender if there was only one left after the New Hampshire vote, Trump responded, “Yeah, I would, if it’s very close. I would debate that Republican. Yeah, but it’s not close,” according to The Hill. Even though Trump has frequently criticized the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates, he also stated he would be eager to debate President Biden in the general election even if the events were organized by the commission. Trump asserted, “They’re totally corrupt. They’re totally Democrat-leaning, that’s being nice when I use the word leaning. They are totally corrupt, and they’re terrible.” He continued, “With that being said, I would do 20 debates even if it was organized by them. I’ll do as many debates as they want. I’d do a debate every night with this guy. But he’ll never show up to a debate.”