Trump blasts debate moderators: It's 'a phony system'

Fox NewsDonald Trump on The O’Reilly Factor September 19.

Donald Trump says that the upcoming presidential debates between him and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton are based on a “phony system.”

The Republican presidential candidate said on The O’Reilly Factor Monday night that he respects NBC “Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt, who is moderating the first debate, but took issue with the political lean of the moderators as a whole.

“Lester is a Democrat. It’s a phony system. They are all Democrats. It’s a very unfair system. I’ve worked pretty well within the system. I guess by a lot of polls I’m leading many of the polls,” Trump told Bill O’Reilly on Fox News. “I think we are doing very well, and the system is aghast.”

O’Reilly also asked Trump what he thought of the moderators of the following two presidential debates: ABC News correspondent Martha Raddatz and CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, who will moderate the second presidential debate on October 9, and “Fox News Sunday” anchor Chris Wallace, who will moderate the third presidential debate on October 19.

“[Wallace is] fair, he’s tough. He’s fair. I don’t mind. As long as he’s fair — I’ve done a lot of work with Chris and I’ve never had a problem with him,” Trump said. “I’m not OK with Anderson Cooper, because I think he treats me very unfairly at CNN. I think he’s very unfair on CNN. I think CNN — they call it the Clinton News Network, that’s why the ratings aren’t doing very well because who’s going to watch that?”

Trump has long had issues with the current debate system. Last week, he called for debates without any moderators at all, because “the system is being rigged,” making it “a very unfair debate.” Earlier in the summer, Trump protested the date of the first debate in particular because it conflicts with Monday Night Football.

In response, the Clinton campaign released a statement saying she “looks forward to participating in all three presidential debates scheduled by the independent debate commission,” and that “the only issue now is whether Donald Trump is going to show up.”

O’Reilly asked Trump on Monday night if he would attend all of the debates, and the candidate said he would be there.

“I’ll show up,” Trump said. “Look, they’re gaming the ref.”

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