Biden, Asked if He’s Planning to Debate Trump, Says ‘I Am’

President Biden said on Friday that he would participate in a general-election debate with former President Donald J. Trump, a striking shift after months in which he and his campaign declined to commit to appearing onstage with his Republican rival.

Mr. Biden’s announcement, made in response to a question from the radio host Howard Stern, comes after pressure from television networks and Mr. Trump’s campaign for the president to agree to participate in debates.

When Mr. Stern asked Mr. Biden if he would debate Mr. Trump, the president replied: “I am, somewhere, I don’t know when, but I am happy to debate him.”

This month, the five major TV news networks and The Associated Press wrote an unusual letter to the Biden and Trump campaigns urging them to debate. Some of Mr. Biden’s top aides and closest advisers have been longtime critics of the presidential debate system, which is organized by the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates.

Mr. Trump has sought to goad Mr. Biden into agreeing to debate him. Before he began spending his days in a Manhattan courtroom, Mr. Trump’s campaign rallies were punctuated by placards reading: “anytime, any place, anywhere” in an attempt to apply public pressure on Mr. Biden to debate.

The Biden campaign has parried questions about whether he will agree to debate Mr. Trump this fall. On Friday, the campaign directed questions about whether its stance on debates had changed to Mr. Biden’s comments on the Stern program.

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