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Tapper and Bash: What to know about hosts of CNN Trump-Biden presidential debate

CNN’s Jake Tapper and Dana Bash are set to moderate the first 2024 presidential general election debate between former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden on June 27. Bash and Tapper will likely have their hands full keeping the debate under control. On top of the debate being the first in U.S. history between […]

CNN’s Jake Tapper and Dana Bash are set to moderate the first 2024 presidential general election debate between former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden on June 27.

Bash and Tapper will likely have their hands full keeping the debate under control. On top of the debate being the first in U.S. history between an incumbent and a former president, the event will also feature the oldest president in history, as well as the first former president to hold a felony conviction.

The 90-minute debate, which will feature two commercial breaks, is also the first time either Biden or Trump have been featured on a debate stage since 2020.


Trump, who is known for his spitfire mudslinging, is sure to attack Biden’s age and policy, while Biden will likely touch on the former president’s recent criminal conviction and Democrats’ persistent message on defending democracy following the Jan. 6, 2021, riots at the Capitol.

Bash and Tapper “will use all tools at their disposal to enforce timing and ensure a civilized discussion,” according to the network’s rules and guidelines released last week.

The former president’s relationship with CNN has been tumultuous. During the 2016 election, the network was criticized for broadcasting Trump’s rallies without interruption. At the time, aides of 2016 GOP candidates slammed the network for showing “unfiltered, unscrutinized coverage” of Trump and undermining their candidates’ performances in the primary, according to the New York Times.

But Trump has repeatedly complained that CNN is biased, disparaging it as “the Clinton News Network,” a reference to then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and “fake news.” Prior to his town hall with anchor Kaitlan Collins in May 2023, his last appearance on the network was an interview with Jake Tapper in 2016.

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CNN anchors Jake Tapper, left, and Dana Bash speak to members of the audience before the start of the CNN Republican presidential debate with former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Who is Jake Tapper?

Jake Tapper is CNN’s lead Washington, D.C., anchor and chief correspondent. He hosts “The Lead” during the weekdays and the network’s Sunday show, “State of the Union.” Tapper has spent almost a decade on air, known best for his pointed and deep-diving questioning of lawmakers and world leaders from all sides of the political spectrum.

Tapper moderated the Republican primary debate in September 2015, which gained over 23 million viewers, according to the Independent.

The correspondent has previously called Trump’s administration a “nightmare” and become one of the former president’s most staunch critics. He spearheaded the coverage of CNN’s coverage of allegations that Trump colluded with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election. Robert Mueller, the special counsel to investigate the alleged election interference, found no proof of collusion, but the story engulfed the first years of Trump’s first term.

Since Trump left office, Tapper has criticized the former president’s allies in Congress and reported on the Democratic-led House Select Committee on Jan. 6, calling the final hearing “one last chance to try to convince rational Americans about the dangers of the anti-democracy movement.”

Tapper, along with Bash, served as moderators for the GOP presidential primary debate earlier this year in Iowa featuring Trump and former candidates Nikki Haley and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL).

Who is Dana Bash?

Dana Bash is the host of CNN’s “Inside Politics” and also co-anchors “State of the Union” with Tapper. Previously, she served as the chief congressional correspondent for CNN.

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Bash took center stage in 2019 when she moderated the Democratic debate between Vice President Kamala Harris, then-candidate, and Biden when he was former vice president. She, alongside Tapper, also hosted the March 15, 2020, debate with Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the first debate affected by COVID-19.

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Similar to Tapper, Bash has also stayed very critical of Trump in her coverage of his recent criminal cases and conviction at the end of May. She has fact-checked several of the former president’s Truth Social posts and courthouse complaints.

She gained attention in March when she called Trump’s rhetoric “antisemitic and incredibly dangerous” related to comments about Jewish people voting for Democrats, arguing “it was used in Nazi Germany.”

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