Biden, Trump to debate in Atlanta on June 27

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump are coming to Atlanta to meet for a presidential debate.

CNN announced on Wednesday morning that it will host a debate between Biden and Trump at 9 p.m. on June 27 at its studios in Atlanta.

The company said the debate's moderators will be anchor Dana Bash and Jake Tapper. Other details will be announced at a later date. There will be no audience so that both candidates can maximize the time allotted for the debate, CNN said. 

Donald Trump and Joe Biden squaring off during the first presidential debate at the Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio on September 29, 2020. (Photo by JIM WATSONSAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

The announcement of the debate follows Biden's decision not to participate in fall presidential debates sponsored by the nonpartisan commission that has organized them for more than three decades. Biden’s campaign instead proposed that media outlets directly organize the debates between the presumptive Democratic and Republican nominees, with the first to be held in late June and the second in September before early voting begins. Trump, in a post on his Truth Social site, said he was "Ready and Willing to Debate" Biden at the proposed times.

Hours later, Biden said he accepted an invitation from CNN to a debate on June 27, adding, "Over to you, Donald. As you said: anywhere, anytime, any place." Trump told Fox News Digital he accepted the invitation: "I’ll be there," he told the outlet.


Still, the two sides appeared to hold significant differences on key questions about how to organize the debates, including agreeing on media partners, moderators, location and rules — some of the very questions that prompted the formation of the Commission on Presidential Debates in 1987. Biden’s proposal would exclude third-party candidates, such as Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

While CNN did not comment on Biden's proposal, the network said that all candidates in the debate must appear on enough state ballots to be able to receive enough electoral votes to win the presidency, receive at least 15% in four national polls of registered or likely voters, and agree to accept the debate's rules. 

Trump’s team did not immediately weigh in on the details of the Biden proposal, but Trump expressed his desire for a large live audience.

"I would strongly recommend more than two debates and, for excitement purposes, a very large venue, although Biden is supposedly afraid of crowds - That’s only because he doesn’t get them," Trump said. "Just tell me when, I’ll be there."

Georgia set as battleground state for Trump and Biden

Georgia is likely again to play a key role in the general election as it did in 2020 when Biden became the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry the state since Bill Clinton in 1992. 

Biden narrowly defeated Trump in Georgia by less than a quarter of a percentage point, a margin of 11,779 votes. Trump’s efforts to overturn those results are at the heart of an ongoing criminal case in Fulton County that has spiraled into arguments about romantic entanglements and accusations of the misuse of federal funds.

Both candidates easily won their respective primaries in the state, helping both Biden and Trump reach the number of delegates needed to clinch their parties' presidential nominations.

Republicans are trying to reverse a trend of high-profile Democratic Party wins in the state. Both of the state's senators are Democrats, despite Gov. Brian Kemp leading the GOP’s general election sweep of Georgia’s statewide constitutional offices in 2022.

Earlier this month, former Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan broke ranks from his party to endorse Biden, writing in an op-ed that the Republican Party "will never rebuild until we move on from the Trump era, leaving conservative (but not angry) Republicans like me no choice but to pull the lever for Biden."

This debate will be the second time that Biden and Trump appear in Georgia at the same time this year. In March, both candidates went head-to-head at campaign rallies across the Peach State.

Republican Lt. Gov. Burt Jones, known to be a champion for the former president, issued a statement:

"I am excited for Georgians to get a firsthand look at the stark contrast between President Trump and Joe Biden’s failed presidency," said Jones. "The road to the White House runs right through Georgia, and this debate will strengthen President Trump’s BIG lead in our state."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.