Trump threatens to bypass Commission on Presidential Debates

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President Donald Trump makes the thumbs up sign as he exits a motorcade to board Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019, en route to Philadelphia to attend the Army-Navy football game. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump made clear Monday that he intends to participate in at least three general election debates, but is threatening to sidestep the nonprofit group charged with running them.

“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,” Trump tweeted Monday morning after The New York Times reported that he was considering skipping them entirely.

Trump said his record “is so good” that “perhaps I would consider more than 3 debates,” but also complained, without evidence, that the Commission on Presidential Debates is “stacked with Trump Haters & Never Trumpers” and threatened to bypass them.

“As President, the debates are up…….to me, and there are many options, including doing them directly & avoiding the nasty politics of this very biased Commission,” Trump wrote, adding that he would “make a decision at an appropriate time.”

In a statement, the commission said, “The televised general election debates are an important part of our democratic process.” It said the commission has conducted 30 general election presidential and vice presidential debates since 1988.

“Our record is one of fairness, balance and non-partisanship,” the statement said.

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(This story was originally published on December 16, 2019)

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