President Joe Biden said Wednesday that he will not be participating in the three fall debates against Donald Trump hosted by the nonpartisan commission, which has organized the presidential debates for over thirty years. Instead, he has proposed two alternative debates to be held in the months prior.

The debates held by the nonpartisan commission are usually held in the fall, in the preceding weeks before the general election. Biden’s campaign is suggesting they have one in June and another in September, prior to the first round of early voting.

“Donald Trump lost two debates to me in 2020, since then, he hasn’t shown up for a debate. Now he’s acting like he wants to debate me again. Well, make my day, pal,” the 81-year-old Biden said in an X video.

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Biden said they ought to select some dates, mockingly saying Trump should be “free on Wednesdays.” Wednesday is the typical off day in the criminal trial over the alleged “hush money” payment, in which Trump stands accused of falsifying business documents to cover up the exchange.

Jen O’Malley Dillon, the chair of the Biden campaign, sent a letter on Wednesday to the Commission on Presidential Debates stating that Biden has refused to participate in the scheduled debates and is instead opting for debates hosted by media organizations. The Biden camp’s main complaint is that the Commission’s debates are scheduled for after the start date of early voting.

According to the Associated Press, Biden’s campaign is still angry at the Commission for not testing Trump and his coterie for COVID-19, among other perceived failures to enforce its own rules in 2020.

I am, somewhere, I don’t know when. But I’m happy to debate him,” Biden recently told Howard Stern in reference to whether he would be debating Trump.

Update: President Joe Biden and GOP frontrunner Donald Trump have agreed to a debate to be hosted by CNN on June 27th. “I’ve received and accepted an invitation from @CNN for a debate on June 27th. Over to you, Donald. As you said: anywhere, any time, any place,” Biden wrote on X.

Trump told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, “The answer is yes, I will accept.” He also posted about it on his Truth Social account:

The two candidates also agreed to a second debate in September held by ABC News.

Shane Devine is a writer covering politics and business for VT and a regular guest on The Unusual Suspects. Follow Shane’s work here.

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