Musk to Host RFK Jr. in X Presidential Debate, Challenges Trump and Biden

RFK Jr. seeks inclusion in upcoming presidential debates

by Zain ul Abedin
Musk to Host RFK Jr. in X Presidential Debate, Challenges Trump and Biden
© Apu Gomes/Getty Images

Elon Musk has announced plans to host a presidential debate involving Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter. This move comes as the 2024 US Presidential elections approach, sparking a new dynamic in the campaign landscape.

Kennedy Jr., running as an independent candidate, has openly challenged both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump to participate in the debate scheduled ahead of the November elections. While Biden, aged 81, and Trump, aged 77, have already committed to a June 27 debate on CNN - the earliest-ever general election debate - the inclusion of Kennedy Jr.

remains uncertain. Despite not being invited to two major televised debates on CNN and ABC, the independent candidate has made his intentions clear, asserting his right to participate alongside the mainstream candidates. The interaction between Musk and Kennedy Jr.

began on X, where Kennedy questioned Musk about hosting a debate, to which Musk simply replied, "Sure." However, details about this proposed debate remain sparse. The platform's ability to handle large-scale live events was previously tested during Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ campaign announcement, which experienced significant technical issues, though it did attract over half a million viewers.

Kennedy Jr. has emphasized that X's vast audience - claiming to be 100 times that of CNN’s - makes it an ideal venue for such a debate. In response to this, Musk agreed, reinforcing the platform's capacity to reach a wide audience.

Debate Eligibility Criteria

The newly formed ‘We the People’ party, initiated by Kennedy Jr. in January, sees this debate as a crucial opportunity to level the playing field. Kennedy Jr.’s call to Trump and Biden was made public via X, where he provocatively asked Trump whether he should directly call Biden to propose the idea.

As of now, there has been no response from either. Kennedy Jr.’s participation in the traditional debates hinges on meeting specific criteria, including achieving 15% in four national polls - he currently has two - and securing ballot access in enough states to theoretically win 270 electoral votes, a threshold he has yet to reach.

This development has introduced an element of tension within both the Democratic and Republican camps. Trump acknowledged Kennedy Jr.' s potential participation, remarking on his Truth Social platform that Kennedy Jr. needs more than just his familial legacy to secure a place on the debate stage.

Conversely, Biden’s campaign has suggested that debates should only feature the main candidates, potentially excluding third-party contenders like Kennedy Jr. The prospect of Kennedy Jr. joining the presidential debates, which would mark the first time a third-party candidate has done so since Ross Perot in 1992, is causing ripples across the political spectrum.

As the debate over debate participation intensifies, the political landscape continues to evolve, with social media platforms like X playing an increasingly significant role in shaping public discourse and candidate visibility.