Apr 9, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Big networks are hungry for a Trump-Biden debate

Then-President Trump and then-presidential candidate Joe Biden appear side-by-side during a debate

Then-President Trump and then-presidential candidate Joe Biden debate in Nashville, Tennessee, in October 2020. Photo: Morry Gash/AP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Five major TV news networks are preparing a letter urging President Biden and former President Trump to engage in televised debates, a source told Axios.

Why it matters: The two historically unpopular presumptive nominees are headed for a rematch, and it's still unclear whether a debate between them will actually happen.

  • The New York Times and CNN reported on the letter earlier Tuesday, citing a draft version from CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox News to the two respective campaigns.

Zoom in: "We, the undersigned national news organizations, urge the presumptive presidential nominees to publicly commit to participating in general election debates before November's election," the draft reads, per the NYT.

Catch up quick: Biden has not ruled out debating with Trump. In March, the president said whether he debates with Trump "depends on his behavior."

  • Meanwhile, Trump, who refused to participate in any of the Republican presidential primary debates, said he would debate Biden "anytime, anywhere, anyplace."

State of play: The presidential debates are slated for Sept. 16, Oct. 1 and Oct. 9, according to the Commission on Presidential Debates.

  • Representatives for the Biden and Trump campaigns did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Between the lines: Though general election debates have taken place during every presidential cycle for over the past four decades, their future has never been more uncertain.

Flashback: In the lead-up to the 2020 presidential race, Biden and Trump went head-to-head in only two debates.

Go deeper: The future of presidential debates has never been more uncertain

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