Many Democrats and Republicans have criticized Joe Biden for his appearance of not participating in the primary season ahead of the 2024 election.

While it is true that Biden has not been dedicating as much time to giving speeches and meeting with various constituents across the country, that’s not to say that he isn’t running an active campaign against his likely challenger, Donald Trump.

Trump’s Bold Statements

Trump, on the other hand, has actively avoided doing many of the standard events for a Republican presidential hopeful. He flatly refused to participate in any of the Republican primary debates, and to this date refuses to sit down and discuss the issues with his now-singular primary challenger, Nikki Haley.

Source: Wikimedia

This pattern makes Donald Trump’s most recent demand of Joe Biden surprising. In an interview done with conservative radio host, Dan Bongino, Trump boldly stated that he thought that Joe Biden should join him on stage for a debate, effective immediately.

A Departure from Trump’s Norm

This is in staunch contrast with Trump’s apparent attitudes towards any debates of any kind, so far. He has stated in interviews in the past that he thinks that he shouldn’t have to debate since he’s the clear pick for the Republican presidential nod, and when asked if he would ever debate Biden, has said that he would, but then quickly changed the subject.

Source: Wikimedia/Ali Shaker/VOA

Trump’s calls to debate Biden on Bongino’s show reflect a similar attitude. He said that Joe Biden should join him for a debate, and that a debate would be for the good of the country, for the good of the public ahead of the election.

Trump’s Disdain for the RNC

These calls for a debate come in the wake of the news that the RNC chair is potentially resigning ahead of a Trump nomination for president, so that he could install someone more “loyal” to him after the fact.

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore

Trump’s attitude towards the RNC reflects his disdain. Previously, he has called the RNC as an organization “corrupt,” and stated that they were “totally Democrat-leaning.” Despite these statements, he has also said that he would go to “20 debates” hosted by the RNC, but that Joe Biden would never show up to debate him.

Democratic Challengers Agree on Debating

Other Democratic challengers for the nomination have said similar things in speeches and campaign statements. Marianne Williamson and Dean Phillips, both formally running for the Democratic nomination for president, have both wondered where Biden is during this presidential primary season.

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore

Dean Phillips especially has asked why Biden is not on the ground speaking to constituents like he and Williamson, and both have stated that they would be perfectly willing to debate him during the primary season. They see his “reluctance” as a statement on his ability to lead, and have said as much in interviews.

Biden Responded Quickly

Despite what many people are saying about Biden, though, he was quick to respond to Trump’s calls for a debate. During a campaign stop in Las Vegas, Biden told reporters that, “If I were him, I’d want to debate me too.”

Source: Wikimedia/The White House

Biden, in his usual manner, then went on to take a jab at Trump, stating, “He’s got nothing else to do.” When asked if he would ultimately debate Trump, should he get the nomination, though, Biden declined to answer.

Reflecting Attitudes

Biden’s lack of a response, as well as Trump’s bluster, reflects both of their attitudes regarding this particular presidential nomination season. It’s seeming more and more likely that they are both the default for their party’s nomination, with the rest of the primaries essentially pointless.

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore

For Biden, this makes sense; the incumbent is almost always the choice for their party’s primary nomination, due to the boost that incumbent Presidents tend to get from both name recognition and the ability to run on their presidential record. Choosing a different primary candidate when a member of the same party is in the White House would be foolish.

Trump’s Attitude is Confusing

For Trump, though, his blase attitude and cockiness are a little more murky. The RNC appears to be banking on Trump’s popularity with his base to carry them through this fall’s general election, and Trump himself appears to believe that that will be the case as well.

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore

However, Trump’s popularity appears to be deeply divided in the Republican conference. While it is true that he is very popular among his supporters, who tend to be far-right members of the party, his appeal for more moderate Republicans and independents seems to be waning. There are even Republicans who are “never Trumper’s,” who have bluntly stated that they would rather vote for a Democrat than have Trump in the White House again.

A Distraction Technique

Trump’s calls for a debate with Biden also come alongside his refusal to sit and have a debate with his primary challenger, Nikki Haley. She has been calling for a Trump debate the entirety of her campaign, and has made clear that she won’t participate in another debate that doesn’t involve Trump.

Source: Wikimedia/Bill Clark (Roll Call)

Trump’s “bold” statements appear to be nothing more than a distraction technique from the former President. His ongoing court battles have been the center of attention in the media, though Trump has done his best to detract from the issues at play regarding the legal challenges that he is facing.

The Future Remains to be Seen

Whether or not we’ll ultimately see another Biden and Trump debate remains to be seen. The RNC pulled out of participating in debate planning in 2022, and though the general commission has planned three debates ahead of the general election in November, neither Biden or Trump has outwardly stated whether they would be participating.

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore

Regardless of whether they debate each other on policy, it’s appearing more and more likely that 2024 is the year of a second Trump and Biden showdown. For many citizens the stakes feel higher than they were in 2020, and if each of these men win their party’s nominations this summer, it’s anybody’s guess who will ultimately take the presidency.