Elections

Trump accuses Clinton of trying to ‘rig’ debates, scheduled 10 months ago

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds Kellen Campbell of Denver, right, and Evelyn Keane, of Castle Rock, Colo. during a campaign rally, Friday, July 29, 2016, in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds Kellen Campbell of Denver, right, and Evelyn Keane, of Castle Rock, Colo. during a campaign rally, Friday, July 29, 2016, in Colorado Springs, Colo. AP

Donald Trump is accusing Hillary Clinton and the Democrats of trying to stifle viewership for the presidential debates by scheduling them during NFL games this fall.

But the three presidential - and one vice presidential - debates were scheduled in September 2015 by the same private, non-partisan commission that has organized presidential debates since 1988.

Trump will attend the debates, spokeswoman Hope Hicks told McClatchy on Saturday.

The first debate is scheduled to be held Sept. 26 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., according to the Commission on Presidential Debates, which says its primary mission is to ensure that general election debates are held every four years.

The commission -- co-chaired by a Democrat and a Republican - is an independent organization, “not controlled by any political party or outside organization,” it notes on its website.

The commission notes too that it has sponsored general election presidential debates in every election since 1988.

Trump skipped a Republican primary debate because he was angry at a line of questioning by Fox News’ Megyn Kelly and former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell said during the Democratic National Convention that he was skeptical that Trump would participate in the debates.

“He not only doesn’t put any meat on the bones, I think if you asked him for specifics he couldn’t tell you, and that’s why I think he may duck the debates,” Rendell, a Democrat, said at a breakfast hosted by Bloomberg.

Trump -- and supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders -- had accused the Democratic National Committee of looking to help Clinton by scheduling too few Democratic primary debates and holding them on nights with low viewership. The DNC and its former chairwoman, who resigned this week, had rejected the charges of favoritism.

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