Donald Trump Chickens Out Of Head-To-Head Press Conferences With Joe Biden; Incumbent Campaign Mocks Ex-POTUS (2024)

Donald Trump rarely meets a microphone he doesn’t like, but today the usually volatile former president backed off being bumped off TV by Joe Biden.

More than ever this election year, it was a tale of two presidents on cable news this morning. From the G7 summit in Italy and the corridors of power in Washington D.C., respectively, Biden and Trump almost went head-to-head with competing press conferences. Almost.

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“We’ll go to either of those live events, which ever one starts first,” said Fox News’ Sandra Smith as the Rupert Murdoch-owned outlet straddled the setups on screen for Biden and Trump’s potentially competing press conferences. “We set this up as a split screen because they were almost scheduled to speak at the exact same time,” Smith later added with no metaphorical irony.

Donald Trump Chickens Out Of Head-To-Head Press Conferences With Joe Biden; Incumbent Campaign Mocks Ex-POTUS (3)

Seeing which president went first, CNN, MSNBC and BBC World News also leapt back and forth between the two empty podiums. As they waited, CNN called the Trump appearance a “press conference” on the lower third of the screen

In a rare display of discipline and likely aware of the current commander-in-chief’s looming joint appearance with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump declined to take questions from the media after giving remarks on his meetings Thursday in D.C. with GOP members of the House and Senate.

Being that Trump’s remarks after meeting with congressional Republicans today was branded as a news conference, the ex-Celebrity Apprentice host’s quick exit was mocked within minutes by the Biden campaign:

A feeble Trump ends his “press conference” after less than 5 minutes and refuses to answer a single question

— Biden-Harris HQ (@BidenHQ) June 13, 2024

Surrounded by senators and congressmen (though noticeably not Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell), Trump started speaking at 10:44 a.m. PT and mainly stayed on the teleprompter with a reiteration of his stump speech.

“We want to make America great again,” Trump said as GOP leaders stood by their convicted and presumed third-time candidate. ”We want to make our country great again. We’re a nation that’s in decline. We’re a declining nation. We’re a nation that has been left out all over the world. We have a leader that’s been left out all over the world. And we’re going to turn it around. We’re going to turn around fast. The polls are looking like they’re very strongly for us.”

Although he threw in a few swipes at his rival, Trump did not mention Biden by name. He also did not bring up Taylor Swift, who it seems the former president brought up a lot behind closed doors earlier Thursday. Nor did Trump refer to the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision revealed earlier today ensuring access to the so-called abortion pill. Speaking for around five minutes, Trump exited to applause with a thank-you or two and a “we appreciate you being here.”

About 45 minutes later, following a statement from the White House on the SCOTUS ruling, Vice President Kamala Harris spoke live from D.C. about the abortion pill decision. “We must remain clear-eyed about the threats to reproductive freedom in America, and we must remain vigilant,” she said, with MSNBC cutting live to her remarks around 10:36 a.m. PT.

With a 10-year security agreement to be signed by the leaders, the Biden and Zelensky event was set to start at 10:45 a.m. PT. It did not begin until 11:47 a.m. PT — or 8:47 p.m. in Apulia, Italy.

Noting the big-icket deals and security agreement inked by the U.S. and Ukraine on the sideline of the G7 summit, Fox News’ John Robert joked about the delay (which isn’t unusual for Biden events) and that “things happen late” in Italy. Minutes before the two president took the stage in Italy, the America Reports co-anchor added, “So this is right within the sweet spot of still doing things official.”

Donald Trump Chickens Out Of Head-To-Head Press Conferences With Joe Biden; Incumbent Campaign Mocks Ex-POTUS (4)

While Biden was not interruptedby Trump, the president’s stint on the international stage today was paused for a bit as a plane flew over the site of his and Zelensky’s presser.

Unlike Trump, POTUS and the Ukrainian president did take a series of questions from the press. The AP kicked things off by asking Biden about Ukrainian weapons firing into Russia and his son Hunter’s conviction on federal gun crimes in Delaware earlier this week. Although Biden griped about some reporters not playing by “the rules,” topics such as the war in Gaza and the consequences of the upcoming U.S. election also were brought up.

Biden and Trump are set to meet face-to-face on June 27 in Atlanta on CNN for their first debate of the close White House race.

Donald Trump Chickens Out Of Head-To-Head Press Conferences With Joe Biden; Incumbent Campaign Mocks Ex-POTUS (2024)
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