Kamala Harris won’t say whether she or Joe Biden will participate in presidential debates

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WASHINGTON — Vice President Kamala Harris wouldn't opportunity Friday whether President Joe Biden will participate successful wide predetermination debates against erstwhile President Donald Trump, and she besides wouldn't perpetrate to a vice statesmanlike statement herself.

In an question and reply pinch NBC News main White House correspondent, Peter Alexander, Harris said she hasn't spoken to nan president astir nan anticipation of him debating Trump, but said it would beryllium a stark "split screen."

“On nan 1 hand, you’ve sewage Joe Biden — personification who is competent, who is principled, who has accomplished much than galore presidents moreover hoped for ... connected infrastructure, connected climate, connected wellness care,” Harris said. “On nan different broadside of that divided screen, you’ve sewage nan erstwhile president, who glorifies dictators and has said he’ll beryllium a dictator connected time one. Someone who has said that he will weaponize nan Department of Justice against his governmental enemies. Someone who said he’s proud of nan truth that he had picked 3 members of nan United States Supreme Court, who took a law correct from nan women of America to make decisions astir their ain body.”

“The divided surface is clear,” she said, adding that nan prime of debating Trump will beryllium “decided upon soon.”

Asked if she would perpetrate to participating successful a statement this autumn against nan Republican vice statesmanlike nominee, who has not yet been chosen, Harris said: "We conscionable sewage done nan State of nan Union. And I’m conscionable truthful excited astir what we accomplished past nighttime and our president."

Watch nan afloat question and reply pinch Harris connected "NBC Nightly News pinch Lester Holt" connected Friday astatine 6:30 p.m. ET.

Trump said Wednesday — a time aft nan Super Tuesday primaries — that he would statement Biden "anytime, anywhere, anyplace." The erstwhile president had besides expressed nan aforesaid point successful early February, saying he wanted to statement Biden "immediately."

“Immediately?" Biden told reporters astatine nan clip erstwhile asked whether he would work together to Trump’s challenge. "Well, if I were him, I’d want to statement me, too. He’s sewage thing other to do."

In 2022, however, the Republican National Committee decided to retreat from statesmanlike debates set up by nan nonpartisan Commission connected Presidential Debates. The RNC said it would require GOP statesmanlike candidates to alternatively promise to only participate successful debates sanctioned by nan Republican Party.

Trump said that nan committee was “corrupt,” claiming personification turned disconnected his microphone during a wide predetermination statement successful 2016. The organization decided during nan 2020 campaign that it would trim disconnected Trump’s microphone while Biden was answering a question, and vice versa.

The Commission connected Presidential Debates announced past twelvemonth nan dates and locations for 3 2024 wide predetermination debates: Sept. 16 astatine Texas State University successful San Marcos; Oct. 1 astatine Virginia State University successful Petersburg; and Oct. 9 astatine nan University of Utah successful Salt Lake City.

Rebecca Shabad

Rebecca Shabad is simply a authorities newsman for NBC News based successful Washington.