Donald Trump says he’s looking forward to debating Hillary Clinton three times before the general election, but he wants to make sure the moderators are fair.
“I will absolutely do three debates,” Trump tells Time. “I want to debate very badly. But I have to see the conditions.”
“I renegotiated the debates in the primaries, remember? They were making a fortune on them and they had us in for three and a half hours and I said that’s ridiculous,” Trump reminisced. “I’m sure they’ll be open to any suggestions I have, because I think they’ll be very fair suggestions. But I haven’t [seen the conditions] yet. They’re actually presented to me tonight.”
Trump told Time that he “reserved the right to object to the commission’s choice of moderators, which have not yet been announced.”
“I’ll have to see who the moderators are. Yeah, I would say that certain moderators would be unacceptable, absolutely,” Trump declared. “I did very well in the debates on the primaries. According to the polls, I won all of them. So I look forward to the debates. But, yeah, I want to have fair moderators … I will demand fair moderators.”
The Commission on Presidential Debates (CDP), which produced general election debates for nearly three decades, is a nonpartisan organization. It scheduled three presidential debates this fall ahead of the general election on Nov. 8.
The debates include:
- Sept. 26 in New York
- Oct. 9 in Missouri
- Oct. 19 in Nevada
The vice presidential candidates, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, will have one debate in Virginia on Oct. 4.
According to Politico, the commission is preparing for if a third-party candidate meets the requirements — reaching 15 percent in national polls — to join a debate.
“This needs to be done in the same way we’ve done this,” the CPD official said to Time. “There are fine points that get negotiated. If there is a strong preference about the set, that can be discussed.”
“You want to do something that is respectful for candidates of different heights,” the official added, but said the format is “non-negotiable.”
Clinton’s campaign says the former secretary of state looks forward to participating in the debates.
“Secretary Clinton looks forward to participating in all three presidential debates scheduled by the independent debate commission,” stated John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman. “It is concerning that the Trump campaign is already engaged in shenanigans around these debates. It is not clear if he is trying to avoid debates, or merely toying with the press to create more drama.”
“We will accept the commission’s invitation and expect Donald Trump to do the same,” he added.