Mainstream News Outlets Call for Biden-Trump Debate in Joint Statement

A dozen major news organizations on April 14 released a joint statement calling on President Biden and Donald Trump to commit to holding General Election debates this year, arguing that they were a “rich tradition” of general election campaigns for nearly 50 years, CBS News reported.

The joint statement, signed by ABC News, the Associated Press, CBS News, CNN, C-Span, Fox News, NBC News, NewsNation, NPR, PBS, Univision, and USA Today, argued that there was “no substitute” for debates where the candidates could discuss “their visions for the future,” especially in an election where the stakes were “exceptionally high.”

Trump and Biden held only two debates in 2020 after the third scheduled debate was canceled when Trump wouldn’t agree to hold a virtual debate after he tested positive for COVID-19.

In 2022, the Republican National Committee unanimously voted to ban Republican presidential candidates from participating in debates hosted by the Commission on Presidential Debates, which has sponsored general election debates for nearly 40 years.

The former president, who refused to debate his Republican rivals during the 2024 primaries, told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt in December that he was willing to hold 10 debates with Biden.

Earlier this month, Trump declared that he would debate the president “any time, any place.”

When asked in March if he would commit to debating Trump, President Biden said it would depend on the former president’s “behavior.”

In an April 11 letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates, Trump’s campaign managers Chris LaCivita and Susie Wiles said the campaign was willing to participate in debates provided the commission was fair and impartial and asked the commission to schedule a debate earlier in the general election season.

The Commission on Presidential Debates has scheduled three debates with the first scheduled for September 16.

In their letter, LaCivita and Wiles asked for an earlier debate to be scheduled before September 16, arguing that by the time the first debate happened, over a million people would have already cast their ballots in early voting.