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Trump shows off empty lectern ‘for crooked Joe Biden’ at Wisconsin rally

‘We have an empty podium right here to my right. You know what that is? That’s for Joe Biden,’ he told crowds in Green Bay

Mike Bedigan
Wednesday 03 April 2024 00:17 BST
Trump challenges Biden to debate with empty lectern on stage at rally

Donald Trump showed off an empty lectern erected for Joe Biden, at a rally in Wisconsin, once again challenging the president to debate him “any time, any place.”

“We have an empty podium right here to my right. You know what that is? That’s for Joe Biden,” he told the jeering crowds in Green Bay on Tuesday night.

“I’m trying to get him to debate. I’m calling on crooked Joe to debate anytime anyplace. We’ll do it any way you want, Joe, so that we can discuss in a friendly manner the real problems of our country of which there are many, instead of trying to have corrupt prosecutors fight your battles for you. That’s no good. Let’s go have a good, solid, friendly debate.”

Last month, the former president took to his social media platform Truth Social, to challenge Mr Biden to debate.

“I am calling for Debates, ANYTIME, ANYWHERE, ANYPLACE! The Debates can be run by the Corrupt DNC, or their Subsidiary, the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). I look forward to receiving a response. Thank you for your attention to this matter!” he wrote.

Mr Trump’s insistence on debating with his old foe came after he consistently refused to appear onstage next to his previous Republican challengers during the primary election this cycle.

Mr Trump has previously challenged Mr Biden to debate him ‘any time, any place’ (AP)

Instead, the former president held several parallel events, including rallies and a sit-down interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, much to the annoyance of the other presidential hopefuls.

In the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, three debates between Mr Trump and Mr Biden were initially planned and scheduled. The first debate took place on 29 September 2020.

The next was scheduled for 15 October but was later cancelled due to Mr Trump testing positive for Covid-19 and then refusing to appear remotely rather than in person. The final debate took place on 22 October.

Mr Biden was seen to have “won” the first debate, despite the chaotic arguing between the pair. The event was described as “a hot mess, inside a train wreck, inside a dumpster fire” by CNN’s Jake Tapper, and a “s***show” by his colleague Dana Bash.

During the first debate, Mr Trump was also criticised for his remarks concerning the far-right Proud Boys group, which he told to “stand back and stand by”. The comment was interpreted by some members of the group, as well as others, as a call to arms and was later described as a “mistake” by commentators.

In response to the interruptions during the first debate, the Commission on Presidential Debates decided that each candidate’s microphone would be muted during the other’s initial two-minute response to each question during the third and final debate.

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