Donald Trump is threatening to skip the next debate
Donald Trump is considering skipping the next presidential debate if certain demands aren’t met.
The New York Times reported on Thursday that Trump, along with several other candidates — including retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) — are unhappy with the debate criteria set by CNBC late last month.
The campaigns reportedly complained on a conference call Thursday that CNBC, the debate’s host, did not seek necessary input from the campaigns before asserting that candidates had already approved the debate terms.
The campaigns were particularly perturbed over the proposed length of the debate and the plan to scrap candidates’ opening and closing statements.
“The criteria that was outlined by CNBC was never discussed with any of the candidates or the campaigns. 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,’” Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s campaign manager, told The Times.
Later on Thursday, Trump tweeted that the committee should not the agree to CNBC’s “ridiculous” terms:
One of the notable demands over which Trump’s campaign is threatening to walk out is the length of the debate. Trump’s campaign is pushing for a two-hour limit, unhappy with the three-hour duration of the previous debate.
On Thursday afternoon, Trump complained about the proposed length of the debate repeatedly on Twitter.
Many commentators said that while Trump came out of the gate strong in that debate, he waned toward the end. After the debate, when asked what he had “learned,” he joked that he had found out he had “no trouble standing for three hours.”
Candidates have also complained about CNBC’s plan to nix the candidates’ opening and closing statements. Chris LaCivita, an aide to Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Kentucky) campaign, reportedly said CNBC can “go f— themselves” if they scrap the statements, according to Politico.
In a statement, CNBC said it would consider the candidates’ views on the debate’s format.
“Our goal is to host the most substantive debate possible. Our practice in the past has been to forego opening statements to allow more time to address the critical issues that matter most to the American people. We started a dialogue yesterday with all of the campaigns involved and we will certainly take the candidates’ views on the format into consideration as we finalize the debate structure,” the network said.
The terms of each debate have become a sensitive topic for the campaigns. Last month, CNBC and the Republican National Committee, which is sanctioning the debate, bowed to pressure from several lower-polling candidates, who accused the organizers of trying to tip the scales of the election by considering eliminating an “undercard” debate before the main affair.
For his part, Trump has been known to float threats as leverage during negotiations, such as when he continually suggested earlier this year that he would think about running as a third-party candidate if Republicans didn’t treat him “fairly.” He ultimately ended up signing a “pledge” to not run as an independent if he did not win the nomination.
The RNC declined to comment.