The president spoke out on the upcoming presidential debates during the 2020 election in a series of tweets Monday, saying the Commission on Presidential Debates is “stacked” with people who dislike him. The Commission on Presidential Debates board members include John C. Danforth, who called Trump “the most divisive president in our history,” and University of Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, who issued a statement against Trump’s travel ban in 2017.
Board member Newton N. Minow accused Trump of ignoring ethical principles, revealing classified information and insulting world leaders, and “condemning and seeking to discredit judges, science, the news media and, indeed, any source of authority that disagreed with him.”
The commission did not respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Trump said he is looking forward to taking on “whoever the lucky person is who stumbles across the finish line in the little watched Do Nothing Democrat Debates.”
I look very much forward to debating whoever the lucky person is who stumbles across the finish line in the little watched Do Nothing Democrat Debates. My record is so good on the Economy and all else, including debating, that perhaps I would consider more than 3 debates…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 16, 2019
“The problem is that the so-called Commission on Presidential Debates is stacked with Trump Haters & Never Trumpers,” the president tweeted. “3 years ago they were forced to publicly apologize for modulating my microphone in the first debate against Crooked Hillary.”
The president also warned that he can choose not to attend the debates if he pleases.
“As President,” Trump added, “the debates are up to me, and there are many options, including doing them directly & avoiding the nasty politics of this very biased Commission. I will make a decision at an appropriate time but in the meantime, the Commission on Presidential Debates is NOT authorized to speak for me (or R’s)!”
Trump’s worries stem from the Commission on Presidential Debates’ selection of debate moderators during the 2016 elections. The Commission chose NBC’s Lester Holt, ABC’s Martha Raddatz, CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Fox News’ Chris Wallace. Trump criticized Holt’s questions as “unfair,” and said Raddatz, Cooper, and Clinton ganged up against him. Democrats and Republicans praised Wallace for his conduct as a moderator.
Hard to tell which moderator has a more negative tone and attitude toward trump
— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) October 10, 2016
Trump frequently expressed concerns during the 2016 election that then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton received an advantage from the debates, pointing out at one point that his microphone was defective and put him at a disadvantage. The commission later admitted that Trump’s microphone did malfunction and affected “sound level,” but not that intentional tampering occurred.
Polls showed that Clinton, who was tied with Trump before each of the three debates, received a bump in support after each of the debates.
The first presidential debate is scheduled for Sept. 29, 2020, at the University of Notre Dame, in South Bend, Indiana.
The Trump campaign, Danforth, Jenkins and Minow did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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