By Bonnie K. Goodman
The presidential debates are now set. On Monday, Sept. 5, 2016, Republican nominee Donald Trump accepted the debate schedule and the moderates chosen for them. Trump spoke to reporters on his plane on Labor Day Monday and discussed the debates. Previously Trump has complained about the dates chosen and the possible moderators for the debates.
Trump told reporters, “I expect to do all 3 of the debates. I look forward to the debates. I mean, I think it is an important element of what we’re doing. I think you have an obligation to do the debates. I did them in the other cases.” Speaking of the debate moderators, the GOP nominee said, “I like them. I respect the moderators. I do respect them. It’s interesting.”
The press asked the nominee if there was anything that would stop him from participating in the debates. Trump responded to the reporters and on Twitter, that “Only ‘hurricanes, natural disaster’ can stop me from attending debates.” Clinton’s traveling press secretary Nick Merrill responded on Twitter with a jab, “Presumably “natural disaster” refers to a poor performance by Trump, right?”
Reporters also asked the GOP nominee how he is preparing for the debates. Trump is continuing the same preparation he did during the primary, telling reporters, “I think I’m doing the same thing.” The one thing Trump has no plans to do is hold mock debates for practice. Commenting on that concept, Trump said, “I’ve seen some people do so much prep work that when they get out there, they can’t speak. I’ve seen that. So yeah, we’re doing some.”
The Commission on Presidential Debates released the names of the journalists moderating the four debates including the vice presidential debate on Friday, Sept. 1, 2016. The Commission had a difficult time finding moderators that the two nominees, Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton would approve of, and there would be no conflicts.
NBC News anchor Lester Holt will moderate the first debate on September 26. CNN’s Anderson Cooper and ABC’s Martha Raddatz will host the second town hall debate on October 9, while Fox News’ Chris Wallace will moderate the third debate on October 19.