When President Trump tweeted in September that he would participate in a debate against Joe Biden on Joe Rogan’s podcast, he wasn’t just trolling the former vice president; he really wanted it to happen.
Joe Rogan revealed on a recent podcast episode that President Trump’s team actually reached out about doing a debate, but the comedian said he never contacted Biden’s people because he figured that they would reach out if they wanted to do it. Rogan also said he didn’t think the format was good for the former vice president.
Rogan made the revelation in response to a question from guest Gad Saad, who asked whatever happened with the idea of Rogan hosting a presidential debate. (“The Joe Rogan Experience” episode #1557, released Oct. 29.)
“Trump was all in. He was all in. He wanted to do it,” Rogan said. “Yeah he tweeted it. I mean he – he wanted to do it, he contacted people that contacted me to do it, but I never reached out to the Biden people. I felt like if they wanted to do it, they would reach out to me. And if they did, I would have done it. But I just don’t think that’s a good forum for him. I mean as we’ve seen the debates themselves, specifically the last debate, was not good for him.”
Rogan had discussed the hypothetical idea of moderating a presidential debate on a previous episode. At that time, Rogan said that if he were to host a debate, he would want to stream it live and have it go for three hours, with just him and the two presidential candidates at his studio in Austin, just like in one of his normal podcast episodes.
Following that earlier conversation, his guest on that episode sent a tweet asking who would want to see a presidential debate moderated by Rogan, to which Trump responded on Twitter, “I do!”
Soon after Trump publicly expressed his interest, the comedian got attacked over a bit from an old stand-up routine that critics called transphobic.
Rogan told Saad that if Biden had agreed to participate, it would have been better than a standard presidential debate due to the advantages of the podcast format and lack of time constraints.
“When [Biden] was saying that ‘I’ve never said I was gonna ban fracking,’ Jamie would have just pulled up video of him saying ‘I’m gonna ban fracking’ and that would have been horrible for him,” Rogan said.
(Jamie is Rogan’s producer Jamie Vernon, who often finds information if a question arises during the show just like when friends are having a discussion and quickly check something by searching online.)
“It would have been much better in terms of getting some clarity on what he’s actually said and what he’s actually done,” Rogan said.
Rogan also said that he would have challenged Biden for saying that his son Hunter never received any money from Russia and that the accusation has already been disproven.
“It hasn’t been disproven. He knows it hasn’t been disproven, but he knows that he can say that on the air and no one’s gonna call him on it.”
Rogan said that because there is more time on a podcast, he could have stopped the discussion and pulled up articles and asked Biden to say specifically what is incorrect.
“You can just lie in a debate and the moderators don’t check you, no one says anything about it, no one googles it, why can’t they just pull up a story? Pull up the video. I mean, the fracking thing was particularly egregious,” Rogan said.
Rogan also said that the standard debate format is antiquated. “That you’re gonna put some arbitrary two-minute time limits on these discussions is crazy. It’s so ridiculous.” A debate on a long-format podcast makes more sense so that a topic can get properly explored to conclusion, Rogan said. “That’s how you find out what a person thinks and believes.”
“Fact-check Trump. When he lies about something, pull it up. Show, show that he’s not telling the truth. Show what he actually said. Show what he actually did, as opposed to what he’s said he’s doing. Call him out on it. Call Biden out. Let’s get to the bottom of this.”
Rogan made the remarks starting at about the 1:22 mark.
Rogan’s podcast is the most popular in the world. Episodes usually run more than three hours, but unlike traditionally structured interviews, they almost always take the form of wide-ranging conversations, giving guests plenty of time to explore ideas and explain their positions.
Rogan also said that he understands that Trump overpowers conversations, but that he can only get away with that in short interviews. Rogan said that the ideal way to talk with the president would be to “sit down on a podcast and have him here for four hours, and have him sit down and talk, and then stop him when he says things,” so that they could be checked.
For example, Rogan said he would have challenged Trump’s assertion that more people attended his inauguration than Obama’s by showing the pictures side-by-side and asking Trump, “Are you exaggerating? Because you kinda exaggerate.”