Donald Trump appeared to be managing expectations in advance of the upcoming presidential debates that will pit him against Hillary Clinton. Deadline.com reports that the GOP candidate accused debate organizers of “gaming the system” by having Democratic moderators in place.
Trump is quoted telling Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly: “What they are doing is they are gaming the system, like gaming the ref.”
He alluded to criticism received by Matt Lauer over a recent forum in which Lauer took heat for being hard on Clinton and going easy on Trump.
Said Trump: “They are also going after Lester [Holt]. They’re trying to intimidate Lester and I think the world is going to be watching that. … Lester is a professional, but we’ll see what happens.”
The first of three scheduled debates is set for Sept. 26, with NBC’s Holt moderating.
The AP notes that Trump has been especially harsh about CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who is also scheduled to moderate one of the upcoming debates.
“Trump last week had singled Cooper out for criticism, in an interview with The Washington Post,” the AP reports. “Trump has repeatedly tweeted criticism of CNN in general over the last few months.”
The AP quotes Trump telling The Post, in reference to Cooper: “He’ll be very biased, very biased. I don’t think he should be a moderator. I’ll participate, but I don’t think he should be a moderator. CNN is the Clinton News Network, and Anderson Cooper, I don’t think he can be fair.”
Deadline quotes Trump telling FNC’s O’Reilly: “By the way, Lester is a Democrat. It’s a phony system. They are all Democrats. It’s a very unfair system.”