The Azerbaijan State News Agency


Kamala Harris won’t say whether she or Biden will participate in presidential debates

Kamala Harris won’t say whether she or Biden will participate in presidential debates

Baku, March 9, AZERTAC

Vice President Kamala Harris wouldn't say Friday whether President Joe Biden will participate in general election debates against former President Donald Trump, and she also wouldn't commit to a vice presidential debate herself, NBC news reported.

In an interview with NBC News chief White House correspondent, Peter Alexander, Harris said she hasn't spoken to the president about the possibility of him debating Trump, but said it would be a stark "split screen."

“On the one hand, you’ve got Joe Biden — someone who is competent, who is principled, who has accomplished more than many presidents even hoped for ... on infrastructure, on climate, on health care,” Harris said. “On the other side of that split screen, you’ve got the former president, who glorifies dictators and has said he’ll be a dictator on day one. Someone who has said that he will weaponize the Department of Justice against his political enemies. Someone who said he’s proud of the fact that he had picked three members of the United States Supreme Court, who took a constitutional right from the women of America to make decisions about their own body.”

“The split screen is clear,” she said, adding that the choice of debating Trump will be “decided upon soon.”

Asked if she would commit to participating in a debate this fall against the Republican vice presidential nominee, who has not yet been chosen, Harris said: "We just got through the State of the Union. And I’m just so excited about what we accomplished last night and our president."

Trump said Wednesday — a day after the Super Tuesday primaries — that he would debate Biden "anytime, anywhere, anyplace." The former president had also expressed the same thing in early February, saying he wanted to debate Biden "immediately."

“Immediately?" Biden told reporters at the time when asked whether he would agree to Trump’s challenge. "Well, if I were him, I’d want to debate me, too. He’s got nothing else to do."

In 2022, however, the Republican National Committee decided to withdraw from presidential debates set up by the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates. The RNC said it would require GOP presidential candidates to instead pledge to only participate in debates sanctioned by the Republican Party.

Trump said that the commission was “corrupt,” claiming someone turned off his microphone during a general election debate in 2016. The organization decided during the 2020 campaign that it would cut off Trump’s microphone while Biden was answering a question, and vice versa.

The Commission on Presidential Debates announced last year the dates and locations for three 2024 general election debates: Sept. 16 at Texas State University in San Marcos; Oct. 1 at Virginia State University in Petersburg; and Oct. 9 at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

During the interview Friday, Harris was asked if Biden addressed Americans’ questions about his age during his State of the Union address Thursday night.

“He was absolutely on fire and he answered any question that anyone might have about how passionate he is, how prepared he is, how principled he is, to take on a second term as president and I thought that he did a spectacular job,” she said, adding that Biden “dispelled” any questions and concerns about his age and mental fitness with his “vigor and passion last night.”

On the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, Harris reiterated Biden’s message from his speech that Israel has a right to defend itself after the Oct. 7 attack, but innocent Palestinians have suffered as well.

“We need a cease-fire for six weeks so that we can get the hostages out, get aid in,” she said. “I’ve been very clear, as has the president — that ultimately not only do we all want this conflict to end, but we have got to be committed to a two-state solution,” she said.

Asked why the president won’t take executive action to address the crisis involving migrants at the southern border, Harris placed the blame on congressional Republicans for not accepting multiple border security proposals since Biden took office.

“We have a lot of work to be done, but let us not negate the role and responsibility of leaders in Congress who have been elected to be in Washington, D.C. to fix problems. We know there is a broken system...we have an opportunity to fix it and they’re playing political games, and we cannot overlook the significance of that.”

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