Republican nominee Donald Trump said he is planning to participate in all three planned presidential debates this fall--but that he may move to renegotiate the terms of those debates before formally accepting them.
"I will absolutely do three debates," Trump said in an interview with Time magazine Tuesday. "I want to debate very badly. But I have to see the conditions."
The business mogul went on to compare the debate terms this fall to those during the GOP primary, where he was able to have an impact on the final formats. He added that he'll be briefed on the current debate conditions later Tuesday.
"I renegotiated the debates in the primaries, remember? They were making a fortune on them and they had us in for three and a half hours and I said that's ridiculous," he said. "I'm sure they'll be open to any suggestions I have, because I think they'll be very fair suggestions. But I haven't [seen the conditions] yet. They're actually presented to me tonight."
Like during the GOP primary season, Trump said the CPD's choice of moderators could also play a role in his decision-making process. He skipped a January Fox News debate, shortly before the Iowa caucuses, after claiming moderator Megyn Kelly was "biased" against him.
"I'll have to see who the moderators are. Yeah, I would say that certain moderators would be unacceptable, absolutely," Trump said. "I did very well in the debates on the primaries. According to the polls, I won all of them. So I look forward to the debates. But, yeah, I want to have fair moderators ... I will demand fair moderators."
Trump's comments come just a day after Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta, said Clinton has committed to participating in all three debates. The nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates has scheduled them for September 26, October 9 and October 19.
"It is concerning that the Trump campaign is already engaged in shenanigans around these debates. It is not clear if he is trying to avoid debates, or merely toying with the press to create more drama," Podesta said. "Either way, our campaign is not interested in playing along with a debate about debates or bargaining around them."
Late last month, Trump and his aides suggested the debate schedule was rigged to suppress viewership because two of the three debates are slated for the same night as NFL football games. In response, the CPD said it's nearly impossible to avoid all potential conflicts, and that this year's schedule is no different from past years.
"It is impossible to avoid all sporting events, and there have been nights on which debates and games occurred in most election cycles. A debate has never been rescheduled as a result," the group said in a statement.
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