Donald Trump protests format for presidential debates

The first presidential debate is still two weeks away, but Donald Trump is already playing the expectations game.

The Republican nominee said Monday he would prefer to debate Hillary Clinton without moderators because they and others are likely to "rig" the set-up against him.

“The fact is that they’re gaming the system, and I think, maybe, we should have no moderator," Trump told CNBC. "Let Hillary and I sit there and just debate because I think the system is being rigged so it’s gonna be a very unfair debate, and I can see it happening right now because everyone’s saying that he was soft on Trump."

In complaining about the format, Trump claimed that he "won" last week's "Commander-In-Chief Forum" sponsored by NBC News, but commentators later criticized moderator Matt Lauer for asking tougher questions of Clinton than of Trump.

"Well now the new person’s gonna try to be really hard on Trump just to show, you know, the establishment what he can do," Trump said. "So I think it’s very unfair what they’re doing."

Trump and Clinton are scheduled to meet Sept. 26 at Hofstra University on Long Island for the first of three presidential debates. Lester Holt of NBC will moderate the first event.

In the run-ups to debates past, candidates have downplayed their chances and built up those of their opponents, all hoping to prevail in the court of public opinion.

Copyright 2016 KING


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