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Establishment TV Networks Pressure Biden, 81, to Debate Trump

PBS NewsHour
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Establishment media networks are putting pressure on President Biden to debate former President Trump in the 2022 election by drafting an open letter in support of the presidential debates.

The letter from ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC and Fox News cites the importance of debates in reducing polarization and informing voters over the past 50 years.

“Biden won’t get away with the basement routine this time,” Jason Miller, a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, stated.

It argues there is no substitute for seeing the candidates’ visions side by side.

While Trump has said he would debate anytime, Biden has been noncommittal.

“General 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 letter reads. “In each of those elections, tens of millions have tuned in to watch the candidates debating side by side, in a competition of ideas, for the votes of American citizens.”

Most voters believe skipping debates would show weakness.

“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 letter added. “There is simply no substitute for the candidates debating with each other, and before the American people, their visions for the future of the nation.”

“Though it is too early for invitations to be extended to any candidates, it’s 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 reads.

Democrats are wary, noting Trump’s ability to say outrageous things and overcome media bias in prior debates against Hillary Clinton.

They argue Biden should be careful of allowing Trump to make alleged hateful or fascist remarks.

“I would think twice about it,” Senate Democrat Whip Dick Durbin said. “I’ve been physically present at one of [Trump’s] debates with Hillary Clinton, and I watched him do outrageous things and say outrageous things. It’s just an opportunity for him to display his extremism.”

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