REPORT: Trump Likely to Reject Commission on Presidential Debates, Only Debate if Outside Firm Organizes

According to a new report from the NY Times, President Trump’s may only participate in Presidential debates if hosted by an outside firm based on lack of trust in the Commission on Presidential debates.

In mid-December of last year, President Trump took to Twitter to issue a statement over the speculation on whether he would participate in Presidential 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…..

….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)!

….The problem is that the so-called Commission on Presidential Debates is stacked with Trump Haters & Never Trumpers. 3 years ago they were forced to publicly apologize for modulating my microphone in the first debate against Crooked Hillary. As President, the debates are up…

After his first debate with Hillary in 2016, the Commission on Presidential Debates admitted there were issues with Trump’s audio four days after he complained about sound issues inside the venue and was mocked for it by Hillary Clinton.

“Regarding the first debate, there were issues regarding Donald Trump’s audio that affected the sound level in the debate hall,” the CPD admitted.

Yahoo reports President Donald Trump’s campaign is considering only participating in general election debates if an outside firm serves as the host, and his advisers recently sat down with the nonprofit Commission on Presidential Debates to complain about the debates it hosted in 2016.

The Dec. 19 meeting between Frank Fahrenkopf, a prominent Republican and co-chairman of the commission; Brad Parscale, campaign manager for Trump’s reelection effort; and another political adviser, Michael Glassner, came soon after Trump posted on Twitter that the 2016 debates had been “biased.”

Fahrenkopf said the meeting was cordial but that Parscale essentially reiterated Trump’s complaints.

Parscale said “that the president wanted to debate, but they had concerns about whether or not to do it with the commission,” Fahrenkopf said, including worries about “whether or not the commission would be fair.”

Trump’s advisers asserted that the debate commission included “anti-Trumpers.” They also complained about previous moderators, Fahrenkopf said.

Fahrenkopf, in turn, insisted that the debate commission did not include any anti-Trump bias, and he said he walked Parscale through the guidelines for commission board members that require their neutrality.

He also said that with one exception, the commission did not think any of the moderators chosen over several decades had exhibited concerning behavior during the debates.

The one moderator he agreed was problematic was Candy Crowley, who was at CNN in 2012 when she moderated a debate between Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee, and President Barack Obama.

Crowley fact-checked Romney when he wrongly claimed it took Obama 14 days to call an attack in Benghazi, Libya, an “act of terror.”

The meeting between Parscale and Fahrenkopf ended after 45 minutes with no resolution.

Since then, Parscale has told people that he was investigating other options for hosting the debates. It is not clear which outside firms he or other officials are talking to, and the campaign declined to provide any details.

“We want to have debates that are fair and are more geared toward informing the American people than to boosting the careers of the moderators,” Tim Murtaugh, a spokesman for Trump’s campaign, said of the meeting.

The commission has scheduled three presidential debates, to be held on college campuses in late September and October, as well as one vice-presidential debate.

Trump has been discussing the possibility of sitting out the general election debates for months. He has harbored bad feelings about the debate commission since the 2016 election, when he accused them of putting him at a disadvantage “on purpose” by giving him a “defective mic” at the first debate. (Trump was clearly audible to television viewers, but the commission said a technical malfunction affected the volume of his voice in the debate hall.)