Republican nominee Donald Trump is alleging that the Democratic Party is attempting to schedule general election debates that conflict with “major NFL games.”
As usual, Hillary & the Dems are trying to rig the debates so 2 are up against major NFL games. Same as last time w/ Bernie. Unacceptable!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 30, 2016
During the primaries, Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Convention under former chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s watch were criticized for trying to schedule debates during other primetime television events to help shelter Clinton.
“Top Democrats think it’s no accident the Democratic National Committee scheduled the debate on the night of the big game in Iowa, at a time when fewer voters nationwide will see it. They see collusion between DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Hillary Clinton’s campaign to insulate the Democratic front-runner from the potential challenges and embarrassments of a vibrant debate in front of a healthy audience,” reported the National Review ahead of the Iowa caucuses.
Two months later, The Boston Globe also noted the Democratic primary debate schedule continuing to conflict with busy television nights, including NFL playoffs.
“Sunday night’s presidential debate should be the most closely-watched meeting of the party’s candidates this year. But once again, thanks to the Democratic National Committee’s schedule, debate viewership will not be even close to what it could have been,” noted The Boston Globe’s James Lindell. “It’s not new for debates to run on a busy weekend night. But this is by design: Of the six DNC-sanction debates, three take place on a weekend night. The last one took place on a Saturday night six days before Christmas.”
The Commission on Presidential Debates, which is reportedly nonpartisan, issued a statement responding to Trump’s tweet on Saturday, saying the debates had been scheduled nearly a year ago, explaining, it “announced the number, dates and sites for the 2016 general election debates in September 2015.”
“The CPD did not consult with any political parties or campaigns in making these decisions,” the organization declared.
Republican National Committee chief strategist Sean Spicer joined CNN Saturday morning, responding, “The entire system needs to be relooked at.”