Donald Trump said Monday that he doesn’t want anybody moderating a debate with Hillary Clinton.
“I think we should have a debate with no moderator, just Hillary and I sitting there talking,” the GOP presidential candidate said while calling into CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”
Last week, NBC’s Matt Lauer was panned for his performance while moderating a town hall discussion, as many critics believed was throwing soft questions at Hillary Clinton and did not fact check her opponent’s answer about being opposed to the Iraq War, but Trump thinks the backlash is an attempt to control the upcoming presidential debates.
“The fact is they are gaming the system,” Trump said. “I think maybe we should have no moderator. Let Hillary and I sit there and just debate. I think the system is being rigged so it’s going to be a very unfair debate.”
He continued: “I can see it happening right now because everybody was saying [Lauer] was soft on Trump and now the new person is going to try and be really hard on Trump just to show the establishment what he can do. I think it’s very unfair what they are doing.”
Earlier this month, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced Lester Holt, Martha Raddatz, Anderson Cooper and Chris Wallace as the moderators for the Trump vs. Clinton debates.
NBC’s Holt will kick things off on Sept. 26 at Hofstra University. CNN’s Cooper and ABC’s Raddatz will share the stage on Oct. 9 at Washington University in St. Louis, and Fox News’ Chris Wallace gets the final duties on Oct. 19 at University of Nevada.
“These journalists bring extensive experience to the job of moderating, and understand the importance of using expanded time periods effectively,” co-chairs of the Commission on Presidential Debates Frank Fahrenkopf Jr. and Michael McCurry said in a statement when the moderators were announced.
The co-chairs continued: “The formats chosen for this year’s debates are designed to build on the formats introduced in 2012, which focused big blocks of time on major domestic and foreign topics. We are grateful for their willingness to moderate, and confident that the public will learn more about the candidates and the issues as a result.”
David Brock, founder of progressive media watchdog group Media Matters for America, recently said that Wallace should not be allowed to moderate a debate because he used to work for former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, who is thought to be helping Trump with debate prep.
“I am disappointed that an organization that prides itself on being non-partisan would make such a selection,” Brock said in a letter. “It is a glaring conflict of interest.”
Brock is a founder of two pro-Clinton Super PACs.