Mr Trump, who left office in disgrace just over three years ago after fomenting an attempted coup for which he now faces criminal charges, told right-wing radio host Dan Bongino that he’d like to square off against the sitting president post-haste during an appearance on Bongino’s eponymous programme.
“I’d like to call for, immediately, debates ... I’d like to debate him now because we should debate,” said Mr Trump, who added that the two candidates and likely opponents in the November election should meet “for the good of the country”.
For his part, Mr Biden laughed off the ex-president’s suggestion when approached by reporters in Nevada on Monday, telling them: “If I were him, I would want to debate me, too. He’s got nothing else to do.”
Mr Trump’s newfound willingness to debate stands in contrast with how he’s conducted himself over the last year and a half. Since declaring his candidacy for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, he has steadfastly refused to debate any of his GOP rivals, and at his direction, the Republican National Committee has declared that it will no longer participate in the bipartisan presidential debate commission that has hosted debates between the Republican and Democratic presidential nominees for the last few decades.
The Commission on Presidential Debates announced the dates and locations for all three general election debates last fall. They will take place in September and October of this year in Texas, Virginia and Utah, with a single vice presidential debate scheduled in late September in Pennsylvania.
In a statement, CPD co-chairs Frank Fahrenkopf and Antonia Hernandez said the chosen sites would help bring “another set of historic conversations to audiences here and abroad”.
“The United States’ general election debates, watched live worldwide, are a model for many other countries: the opportunity to hear and see leading candidates address serious issues in a fair and neutral setting,” they said.