Donald Trump is considering skipping the next presidential debate if certain demands aren’t met, according to multiple reports.
The New York Times reported on Thursday that Trump, along with several other candidates — including retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) — are unhappy with the debate criteria set by CNBC late last month.
The campaigns reportedly complained that CNBC, the debate’s host, did not seek necessary input from the campaigns before asserting that candidates had already approved the debate terms.
“The criteria that was outlined by CNBC was never discussed with any of the candidates or the campaigns. So what CNBC did was send out a memo and said, ‘Here’s the criteria as you have approved them and that went out to all the campaigns. We said we never agreed to this criteria,'” Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s campaign manager, told The Times.
One of the notable demands over which Trump’s campaign is reportedly threatening to walk out is the length of the debate. Trump’s campaign is pushing for a two-hour limit, reportedly unhappy with the three-hour duration of the previous debate.
Many commentators said that while Trump came out of the gate strong in that debate, he waned toward the end. After the debate, when asked what he had “learned,” he joked that he had found out he had “no trouble standing for three hours.”
The terms of each debate have become a sensitive topic for the campaigns. Last month, CNBC and the Republican National Committee, which is sanctioning the debate, bowed to pressure from several lower-polling candidates, who accused the organisers of trying to tip the scales of the election by considering eliminating an “undercard” debate before the main affair.
For his part, Trump has been known to float threats as leverage during negotiations, such as when he continually suggested earlier this year that he would think about running as a third-party candidate if Republicans didn’t treat him “fairly.” He ultimately ended up signing a “pledge” to not run as an independent if he did not win the nomination.
Lewandowski and the CNBC did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s requests for comment. The RNC declined to comment.
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