Trump calls for ‘no holds barred’ debate as Biden tries to undo damage from the first

Washington:  Donald Trump, the former President and presumptive Republican nominee, has called for a “no holds barred” debate with Joe Biden, the President and the presumptive Democratic nominee, as the latter sits down for a widely anticipated interview he is doing to allay concerns about his health and ability to serve another four years following the disastrous performance in the first debate last week. “I have the answer to the Crooked Joe Biden Incompetence Puzzle”, Trump wrote in a post on Truth Social, the social media platform he launched to counter his banishment from erstwhile Twitter, which is now called X. “Let’s do another Debate, but this time, no holds barred – An all on discussion, with just the two of us on stage, talking about the future of our Country.” The second debate is scheduled for September, according to an arrangement agreed to by both sides, in the same format as the first – just the two candidates and moderators on the stage, with no audience and strictly regulated speaking time. The former President came out unscathed from the debate with his many half-truths and lies because the incumbent President stole all the headlines with a disastrous performance that sent the Democratic leaders and rank-and-file members into panic. Calls for Biden to step aside for someone younger and more capable started within hours and continue despite his and his campaign’s attempts to portray the debate performance as a bad night caused by a sore throat and exhaustion from recent travels abroad. He has tried to do more public appearances to demonstrate he is in good health and mentally alert and able. He is doing an interview with an ABC anchor, which will be telecast in its entirety and unedited Friday evening. Biden has told an ally that his performance in the interview and a few public events over the weekend will be critical in his decision to continue or quit the race, according to news reports. Vice-President Kamala Harris has emerged as a top contender for the Democratic presidential ticket given up by the president, with many Democratic leaders naming her as their choice even though she has remained solidly aligned with Biden, affirming her faith in his candidacy. In a head-to-head matchup poll, Harris is within striking distance of the former President, trailing by only 3 percentage points. Biden’s misfortune has been Trump’s gain. He has widened his lead over the president in polls. In some polls, he has cartwheeled ahead of Biden from trailing him. It’s not surprising, therefore, that he is calling for another debate, a “no holds barred” debate, having the edge at this time. It was different in 2020. Trump was widely panned for his performance in the first debate, when he had kept interrupting Biden and speaking over him. Now the roles are reversed, and he is the victor of the debate. Given the turmoil in the Democratic party, Trump is prepared to take on whoever emerges with the nomination in case President Biden decides to step aside. “President Trump will beat any Democrat on November 5th because he has a proven record and an agenda to Make America Great Again,” Chris LaCivita and Susie Wiles, Trump campaign advisers, have said in a statement.

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