Trump says he could skip 2020 debates: Campaign update

Mario Parker

Donald Trump on Monday attacked the non-partisan Commission on Presidential Debates, accusing it of bias and raising the possibility that he skip the general election forums.

Trump said in a series of tweets that as president he has authority to circumvent the nonprofit organization that organizes presidential debates, adding that he may hold debates directly with the 2020 Democratic nominee.

President Donald Trump makes the thumbs up sign as he boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019, en route to Philadelphia to attend the Army-Navy football game.

“The problem is that the so-called Commission on Presidential Debates is stacked with Trump Haters & Never Trumpers. 3 years ago they were forced to publicly apologize for modulating my microphone in the first debate against Crooked Hillary. As President, the debates are up to me and there are many options, including doing them directly & avoiding the nasty politics of this very biased Commission. I will make a decision at an appropriate time but in the meantime, the Commission on Presidential Debates is NOT authorized to speak for me” or Republicans,” Trump tweeted.

After his first debate against Hillary Clinton in September 2016, Trump complained of a faulty microphone. The Commission on Presidential Debates later issued a statement saying “there were issues regarding Donald Trump’s audio that affected the sound level in the debate hall.”

The first of a series of presidential debates is scheduled for Sept. 29 at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana.

“The televised general election debates are an important part of our democratic process,” the commission said in a statement. “Since 1988, the Commission on Presidential Debates has conducted 30 general election presidential and vice presidential debates. Our record is one of fairness, balance and non-partisanship.

Biden, Sanders Top Democratic Field in New Poll (5:00 a.m.)

Senator Elizabeth Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders.

Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders lead the field of Democratic presidential candidates, followed by Elizabeth Warren, according to a NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll released Monday.

The poll of Democratic and Democratic-leaning independents shows Biden with 24% support and Sanders at 22%, within the margin of error of 5.4 percentage points. Warren had 17%, and Pete Buttigieg had 13%.

Andrew Yang came in fifth with 5%, while Michael Bloomberg, Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker registered 4%. Other candidates drew 1% or less. Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.

The poll, released before a debate of Democratic candidates on Thursday, shows a very fluid field, with 76% of Democratic and Democratic-leaning respondents saying they could change their minds about the contender they favor.

The survey separately found 48% of Americans oppose the impeachment of President Donald Trump, while 47% support it – statistically unchanged from last month. The new poll follows survey data released Sunday that showed little change in Americans’ views on impeachment, despite weeks of televised hearings and debate. This broader sample of respondents had a margin of error of 3.7 percentage points. – Jordan Yadoo

Coming Up

Biden, Warren, Sanders, Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Andrew Yang and Tom Steyer will participate in the final Democratic presidential debate of 2019 in Los Angeles on Dec. 19.

(Michael Bloomberg is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)

With assistance from Jordan Yadoo.