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Debate Commissioner Defends Group’s ‘Honor’ in Fiery Op-Ed Slamming Trump

Former GOP senator John Danforth calls Trump’s attacks on the presidential debates ”nonsense“

One member of the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates has had enough of President Donald Trump’s attacks on his group and the traditional debates themselves.

Former GOP senator John Danforth wrote in the Washington Post Wednesday that he was speaking up against Trump’s “nonsense” to defend the “honor” of the commission and its events. He wrote he felt compelled to respond after Trump went after the commission’s “integrity” directly.

“The president’s apparent strategy is to challenge the validity of the election should he lose. We saw this strategy initially in his claims that mail-in ballots are the tools for massive election fraud. Now we see it as well in his assertion that the debates have been rigged by the commission to favor former vice president Joe Biden,” wrote Danforth.

He said the idea the commission members would favor partisanship over fairness was “ironic” and “just plain wrong.”

One of his harshest Trump burns came when Danforth addressed the second debate, which the president refused to participate in after it was made virtual following his diagnosis with COVID-19.

“The president and his supporters have charged that the commission’s purpose in deciding to conduct the town-hall debate with the candidates in remote locations was made to favor Biden,” he wrote. “This is nonsense. (Speaking again for myself, had I wanted to help the Biden campaign, the last thing on my mind would have been to restrain the technique President Trump exhibited in the first debate.)”

Most recently, on Tuesday, Trump’s campaign railed against the commission’s announcement that his and Biden’s microphones would be muted at times during the third debate to allow the other candidate to complete two uninterrupted minutes of speaking. The campaign called that “biased” but said Trump will still debate.

The third and final debate will be held on Thursday.