Donald Trump said Monday he would prefer to take on Hillary Clinton without a moderator at an upcoming presidential debate.
“Let Hillary and I sit there and just debate, because I think that the system is being rigged, so I think it’s going to be very unfair debate,” Trump said on CNBC.
The Republican presidential nominee suggested that the negative reception NBC’s Matt Lauer received for purportedly asking Clinton tougher questions at a recent town hall would encourage debate moderators to be overly-harsh toward him.
“I can see it happening right now because everyone was saying he was soft on Trump,” he said. “Now the new person is going to try to be really hard on Trump just to show the establishment what he can do.
Trump added: “So I think it’s very unfair what they’re doing. I think we should have a debate with no moderators. Just Hillary and I sitting there talking.”
The idea of debating without moderators has been floated by some of Trump’s allies. Conservative columnist Ann Coulter told Business Insider last month that she was perplexed “how the media managed to inject” itself into the process. Coulter called for Lincoln-Douglas style debates which famously took place without moderators.
For its part, some of the presidential debate commission chairs suggested that they don’t want to see moderators live fact-checking the candidates during the debates, but it is up to the moderators themselves to make that call. One of the moderators, Fox News’ Chris Wallace, said its not his job to be a “truth squad” on the debate stage.
The debates will be moderated by Wallace, CNN’s Anderson Cooper, ABC’s Martha Raddatz, and NBC’s Lester Holt.