Trump on debating RFK Jr.: 'He's not a serious candidate'

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Former President Trump went after independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. after being asked if he would debate him, stating that he was “not a serious candidate” and had “low” polling numbers. 

On Thursday, while in New York City for his hush money trial, the former president was asked if he would debate Kennedy. 

“Would you debate RFK Jr.,” a reporter asked the presumptive GOP nominee on Thursday. 

“RFK, I don’t know anything about him,” Trump said. “Look, RFK is polling very low, he is not a serious candidate. They say he hurts Biden; I don’t know who he hurts, he might hurt me, I don’t know. But he has very low numbers, certainly not numbers that he can debate with. He’s got to get his numbers a lot higher before he’s credible.”

Despite saying he knows little about the independent candidate, Trump has gone after Kennedy over the last week in posts on TruthSocial. 

RFK Jr. responded to Trump’s digs published on the platform, first praising the former president as the “most adept debater in modern American political history,” but called on him to discuss his legislative accomplishments on the stage. 

“Instead of lobbing poisonous bombs from the safety of his bunker, let’s hear President Trump defend his record to me mano-a-mano by respectful, congenial debate,” Kennedy said. 

Some recent polling has shown that Trump has a slight advantage over Biden when Kennedy is included in the contest. But an NBC News poll found that Biden was leading Trump by two points when Kennedy and other third-party candidates, like Cornel West and Green Party candidate Jill Stein, were included. In the same poll, Trump comes out on top in a head-to-head matchup against Biden. Both outcomes were within the margin of error. 

Trump’s campaign has asked the Commission on Presidential Debate (CPD) in April to move up the debate “much earlier” than the slated September date. This week, the CPD said the first debate, scheduled for Sep. 16, will be “the earliest televised general election debate ever held.” 

The Trump campaign was not pleased with CPD’s response. President Biden said during his interview with radio host Howard Stern that he is “happy” to debate the former president. 

Trump leads by 0.6 percent in the latest The Hill/DDHQ polling average while Kennedy sits at a distant third place with 8.5 percent.

The Hill has reached out to Kennedy’s campaign for comment.

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