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News Organizations Urge Joe Biden and Donald Trump to Publicly Commit to Debates Before Presidential Election


Several leading American news organizations have collectively urged U.S. President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump to publicly commit to debating each other during the run-up to the November election.

“Debates have a rich tradition in our American democracy, having played a vital role in every presidential election of the past 50 years, dating to 1976,” the 12 news outlets said in a joint statement.

The statement suggested that debates for the current race be sponsored, as they have every election cycle since 1988, by the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates.

“Though it is too early for invitations to be extended to any candidates, it is not too early for candidates who expect to meet the eligibility criteria to publicly state their support for – and their intention to participate in – the commission’s debates planned for this fall.” it read

Network television outlets accounted for nine of the letter’s signatories – ABC News, CBS News and NBCUniversal News Group (encompassing NBC News and MSNBC), as well as Fox, CNN, C-SPAN, the PBS NewsHour, Nextstar’s NewsNation and Spanish-language Univision.

Also in the group were The Associated Press wire service, National Public Radio and Gannett’s national newspaper USA Today.

Trump, who refused to debate his rivals before winning the Republican primary race last month, has in recent weeks been challenging Biden to engage in a one-on-one matchup with him, offering to debate the incumbent Democrat “anytime, anywhere, anyplace.”

Biden has not committed to debate Trump but has not ruled it out either, saying last month it would depend on the former president’s behavior.

Biden’s team has been concerned that once on stage Trump will not abide by rules set by the Commission, and some Biden advisers say they would prefer not to ‘elevate’ Trump by putting him on the same stage with Biden.

Last week Thursday, Trump’s top two campaign advisers sent a letter to the debates commission calling for an accelerated debates timetable, holding more than the usual three events and starting them earlier in the campaign cycle than usual.

Biden and Trump faced each other in two televised presidential election debates during the 2020 campaign.

Asked during a trip to Las Vegas in early February about Trump calling for Biden to debate him, Biden said, “If I were him, I would want to debate me too. He’s got nothing to do.”

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