“With no audience and restricted response times.” Expected details of the first debate between Trump and Biden

The first presidential debate between Democratic President Joe Biden and his Republican predecessor Donald Trump, as part of the 2024 US presidential election campaign, will take place on Thursday, and will last an hour and a half.

The current US President Biden will face his predecessor, Trump, on stage in Atlanta, Georgia (south-east), in a “historic event,” as the American newspaper “ Washington Post ” describes it, as this debate comes within two debates that were agreed upon within the framework of the election campaigns.

Opinion polls reveal a tight and competitive race between President Biden, 81, and former President Trump, 78. With just five months until the November 5 elections, a significant portion of voters remain undecided, according to a prior Reuters report.

Trump and Biden agreed to accept the rules for the debate, which were clarified in letters sent by the American network CNN to their election campaigns last May.

Biden has a long history of debates, as he participated in more than 30 candidate debates in the election cycles of 1988, 2008, and 2020, and two debates for the position of vice president, according to the American newspaper, The Wall Street Journal .

Trump declined to participate in the 2024 Republican Party primary debates, but he nonetheless has about 16 debate experience.

Here’s how the presidential debate between Biden and Trump will go:

Broadcast the debate

The debate is set to commence at 9 p.m. EST (0100 GMT on Friday) and will last for 90 minutes.

The debate will be broadcast live on CNN and simulcast on several other broadcast networks across the United States. 

Commercial breaks

According to the Washington Post, the debate will feature two commercial breaks, marking a departure from prior events organized by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

However, campaign staff are prohibited from interacting with their candidates during breaks, preventing Biden and Trump from consulting with their advisors for an hour and a half, according to CNN.

Opening and closing statements and responses

The debate will commence with the first question, giving each candidate two minutes to respond. Following this, candidates will have one minute to address each other’s answers.

There will also be another minute that can be used at the discretion of the coordinators, according to the Washington Post.

There will also be a visual reminder of the timing, with lights attached to the cameras and in the candidates’ field of view flashing yellow when the candidate has 15 seconds to respond, flashing red when they have only five seconds left, and turning solid red when the response time is up.

CNN has confirmed that the candidates will not make opening statements. However, they will each have the opportunity to deliver a two-minute closing statement. Biden will present his closing statement first, followed by Trump.

Choose the platform

Trump and Biden agreed to stand on unified platforms on stage.

The Biden campaign won the lottery to choose whether it wanted to determine its position on the podium or arrange the closing statements, as it chose the right side of viewers’ screens during the debate, while Trump will be on the left, separated by an estimated distance of about eight feet (2.4 meters).


The Washington Post reports that during the debate, candidates’ microphones will be muted except when it is their turn to speak. This measure aims to minimize the interruptions observed in previous debates.

CNN also said that debate moderators Jake Tapper and Dana Bash “will use all the tools at their disposal to meet the specified timings and ensure a civil discussion.”

Preparation stage

Each candidate will be given a pen, notebook and bottle of water, and no aids or written notes will be allowed on stage, according to the newspaper.

Without an audience

CNN previously confirmed that there would be no studio audience during the debate, which has not happened in many previous presidential debates.

According to the Washington Post, this is due to the fact that in previous debates, the audience was often asked to remain silent, except at the beginning and end, but this rule was not always followed, which led to chants and sarcasm that disrupted the debates.


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