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2020 Debates May Be Missing a Key Player

Sources tell 'NYT' Trump might skip them
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 13, 2019 12:44 PM CST
President Trump walks onstage before speaking at a campaign rally in Hershey, Pa.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

(Newser) – Wondering how the general election debates between President Trump and the Democratic nominee will go down? We may never find out. Two sources said to be familiar with Trump's discussions on the matter tells the New York Times the president is mulling not showing up for any such showdowns—not because he's intimidated by any of the current roster of contenders, but because he doesn't trust the nonprofit Commission on Presidential Debates, which sponsors the events, and because he's wary of who the chosen moderators will be. Newsweek notes Trump's debate history has been "checkered, at best," though in a tweet from this July he bragged he'd won "EVERY debate," in both the primaries and in the three he had with Hillary Clinton.

The magazine notes polls showed Clinton as the winner of those three, though Trump was correct in suspecting he'd had a technical issue with his microphone in one of those debates (there'd been a volume problem). As for his skepticism on moderators, Business Insider recalls a spar Trump had with moderator Megyn Kelly in a GOP primary debate in August 2015, in which Kelly asked him about his past disparaging remarks on women; that spat reportedly led him to boycott a January 2016 debate on Fox. Not everyone's so sure Trump won't show the next time around, though. "Not doing any would not be strategically smart," Clinton adviser Philippe Reines tells the Times. Daily Beast writer Molly Jong-Fast thinks Trump won't be able to resist. "I have a feeling that when confronted with the chance for attention the temptation will be too great," she tweeted. (Read more President Trump stories.)

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