Democrat Hillary Clinton will participate in the three presidential debates as scheduled, her campaign said Monday in response to complaints from Republican Donald Trump that the dates are unsuitable.
Trump has complained that the Commission on Presidential Debates scheduled two of the debates on NFL game nights, reducing viewership. The commission has said the dates were selected long before the NFL schedule was set.
“Secretary Clinton looks forward to participating in all three presidential debates scheduled by the independent debate commission,” Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta said.
The prime-time sessions are set for Sept. 26, Oct. 9 and Oct. 19.
“It is concerning that the Trump campaign is already engaged in shenanigans around these debates,” Podesta said. “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.”
Podesta questioned whether “Trump is going to show up to debate at the date, times, places and formats set by the commission last year through a bipartisan process.”
Trump has not said he would boycott the debates but had not dropped his objection to the schedule.
Clinton has said she looks forward to debating Trump, and her campaign maintains that the forum will showcase her experience and qualifications. Trump, however, has proved adroit in debates against his Republican primary challengers.
(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Anne Gearan