Politics

Insiders reveal how Biden, Trump are prepping for the 1st 2024 presidential debate

President Biden and former President Trump appear to be taking quite different approaches in prepping for the first presidential debate of 2024.

The debate, which came about after a war of words between the two over a potential on-stage clash last month, is scheduled to be held next Thursday in Atlanta, much earlier than in any previous election cycle.

Trump has so far avoided any mock debates with his team and is focusing heavily on meeting with close allies and hitting the campaign trail. Meanwhile, Biden has opted to hunker down in the days leading up to what is expected to be a historic clash by prepping with his advisors at Camp David.

Trump has been gathering with Republican allies for private meetings in recent weeks as he looks ahead to the debate, including a handful of those in contention to be his vice presidential running mate, senators and other policy experts, sources tell Fox News Digital. His campaign has characterized the meetings as ‘policy discussions.’

One of the vice presidential nominee contenders, Sen. J.D. Vance of Ohio, huddled with Trump and members of his staff earlier this month at the former president’s Mar-a-Lago club and residence in Palm Beach, Florida. Sources familiar with the meeting confirmed the encounter and that the session centered around debate messaging on the economy and how to target Biden over inflation.

Trump also took part in another policy discussion last week during his one-day trip to the nation’s capital, where he met behind closed doors with Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, another potential running mate, as well as first-term Sen. Eric Schmitt of Missouri. 

Trump co-campaign managers Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita, veterans in the political world, also sat in on the session, which included discussions on how to deal with likely debate questions on the Jan. 6, 2021 protests at the U.S. Capitol by supporters of the former president aiming to disrupt congressional certification of Biden’s 2020 election victory.

Trump has also held policy discussions with senior advisers Kellyanne Conway and Stephen Miller, and with former acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell. To date though, none of the sessions have included any mock debates, which is a switch from 2020 when former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie role-played Biden to prepare Trump for the general election debates.

‘President Trump takes on numerous tough interviews every single week and delivers lengthy rally speeches while standing, demonstrating elite stamina. He does not need to be programmed by staff or shot up with chemicals like Joe Biden does,’ senior advisor Jason Miller told Fox News Digital concerning why Trump has yet to do any traditional mock debates.

Trump has demanded that both candidates be drug tested before the debate.

Trump will hold a rally in the battleground state of Pennsylvania on Saturday, while Biden will undergo in depth preparations at Camp David over the weekend and into next week.

Biden’s former chief of staff, Ron Klain, is leading the president’s debate prep, alongside other senior campaign aides and longtime advisors, a campaign official told Fox News Digital.

The official said his sessions will center on ways to hold Trump ‘accountable for his extreme record and the dangerous things he’s been saying on the campaign trail,’ including ‘ripping away reproductive rights, promoting political violence, undermining our democratic institutions, and doing the bidding of his billionaire donors to fund tax giveaways to the ultra-wealthy and corporations by hurting seniors and the middle class.’

Given the president’s ‘day job,’ the official said he would have less time to prepare than he did four years ago, so preparations will largely be confined to immediately prior to the debate.

‘The President has gotten increasingly punchier in recent remarks about Trump and plans to carry that theme through to the debate, while still projecting himself as the wise and steady leader in contrast to Trump’s chaos and division,’ the official said.

A spokesperson for CNN confirmed to Fox News Digital that independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. did not qualify for the debate despite a late effort to be included alongside his top contenders.

Trump and Biden are only expected to meet on the debate stage one other time ahead of the November general election, when ABC News hosts its debate in September.

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