Campaign aides for Donald Trump floated the suggestion that the billionaire presidential candidate might refuse to appear at the upcoming CNBC debate if they don’t specify their criteria.
In an interview with the New York Times, Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski signaled that Trump was unhappy with the length of the three-hour CNN debate and wanted them to identify the time candidates would be on stage.
“’For us it was imperative that the time be changed to 120 minutes’ for the length of the debate,” he said to the New York Times. “Mr. Trump had been unhappy with the nearly three-hour length of the CNN debate that Republicans recently took part in.”
Lewandowski said that CNBC never discussed the debate criteria but rather sent a memo informing them how it would be.
“The criteria that was outlined by CNBC was never discussed with any of the candidates or the campaigns,” he said. “So what CNBC did was send out a memo and said, ‘Here’s the criteria as you have approved them and that went out to all the campaigns. We said we never agreed to this criteria.’”
Other campaigns have complained about the required polling standards for candidates to participate in the event, particularly Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Speaking to the Times, Lewandowski called for the debate criteria to be laid out in detail for all the candidates.
“Until we have this criteria specifically laid out, it is difficult to participate,” he warned.