News outlets want Biden and Trump to participate in 2024 presidential debates.

New York — Twelve news organizations asked expected presidential nominees Joe Biden and Donald Trump to participate in debates on Sunday, calling them a “rich tradition” of every general election campaign since 1976. Trump has shown a readiness to debate his 2020 opponent, but the Democratic president has not committed to doing so  

Although invitations have not been issued, news media felt it was not too early for each campaign to officially announce its participation in the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates' three presidential and one vice presidential debates.  

If there is one thing Americans can agree on during this polarized time, it is that the stakes of this election are exceptionally high,” the organizations stated. In that context, there is no replacement for politicians debating their plans for our nation's future before the American people.  

ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox, PBS, NBC, NPR, and AP signed the letter. Trump and Biden debated twice in 2020. The third debate was canceled after Trump, then president, tested positive for COVID-19 and refused to debate remotely.  

When asked about a debate with Trump on March 8, Biden answered, “it depends on his behavior.” In the freewheeling first 2020 debate, the president said, “will you shut up?” This Monday, Trump campaign officials Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita wrote that “we have already indicated President Trump is willing to debate anytime, any place and anywhere — and the time to start these debates is now.”  

“Certainly today’s America deserves as much,” they said, citing the seven 1858 Illinois Senate debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas. In 2022, the Republican National Committee agreed to leave Commission on Presidential Debates forums. The Trump campaign had requirements but had no commitment. Campaign managers stated the commission chose a “demonstrably anti-Trump moderator” in 2020, Fox News personality Chris Wallace, and want fair and impartial debates.  

The Trump team also wants the commission's three debates moved early, arguing that many Americans will have already voted by Sept. 16, Oct. 1, and Oct. 9. The Biden campaign cited the president's statement to reject comment on the news organizations' letter. The Trump campaign did not respond immediately.  

On Saturday, Trump conducted a rally in northeast Pennsylvania with two lecterns: one for him to speak and one to symbolize Biden's refusal to debate him. “Anytime. Anywhere. Anyplace.” read the second lectern sign. Trump pointed to the second lectern on his right midway through his campaign speech.  

He said, “We have a little, look at this, it’s for him.” “See the podium? I want Crooked Joe Biden to debate anytime, anywhere. Exactly there. We must argue because our country is headed in the wrong direction, even though it's early. “We must explain to the American people what is going on,” Trump stated.  

C-SPAN, NewsNation, and Univision signed the debate letter. USA Today was the only newspaper to comment. The Washington Post denied membership. Broadcasters could use debates' energy. Television news ratings are down dramatically from the 2020 campaign, but cord-cutting and the pandemic raised news attention four years ago. This election cycle saw no Democratic debates, while Trump's boycott of GOP debates lowered interest.  

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