Biden Reportedly Sought To Keep RFK Out Of Debate

President Joe Biden reportedly sought to keep independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy from participating in debates with former President Donald Trump, according to one official. The news came as both Biden and Trump agreed to two debates in June and September, deviating from the normal series of three debates prior to a presidential election.

One of the co-founders of the Commission on Presidential Debates, Frank Fahrenkopf said that the Biden campaign urged CNN to not include Kennedy, also known by his initials RFK, in the debate. He said that the effort could result in a lawsuit from the Kennedy campaign.

Biden’s decision to accept the debates came after repeated challenges from the former president to debate anytime and anywhere.

Recent presidential elections have had three scheduled debates participated in by both candidates. There have been some exceptions. In 1992, independent candidate Ross Perot was included due to his strong polling numbers.

In 2020 there were only two debates after the Trump and Biden campaigns could not agree on the first schedule debate over coronavirus concerns.

The 2024 Trump campaign indicated that it would seek more debates, but ultimately the campaigns agreed on just the two.

Kennedy said on social media that he qualified for the upcoming June 27 debate in Atlanta.

“I look forward to holding Presidents Biden and Trump accountable for their records in Atlanta on June 27 to give Americans the debate they deserve,” he wrote.

CNN currently has a requirement that candidates much have at least 15% in four national polls and be on the ballot in states representing at least 270 electoral votes. Right now, the current 538 polling average has Kennedy at just under 10%. CNN’s polling average has him at 13%.

As of this writing, the candidate is on the ballot in states representing 201 electoral votes.

Both the Trump and Biden campaigns have been critical of the independent campaign, including after Kennedy gave up his original effort to seek the Democratic Party nomination for president.