Whoever the Democrats pick to be their nominee for the 2020 presidential election campaign, it’s assumed that individual will have to face off against President Donald Trump in at least a couple debates.
But according to two sources who spoke to the New York Times, the president and his team of political advisers are giving consideration to not showing up for the debates at all.
Skipping the event wouldn’t be due to any concerns about Trump’s debate performance, according to the sources, but rather because Trump doesn’t trust the Commission on Presidential Debates, the nonprofit group that organizes the events each presidential election cycle.
Trump was greatly critical of the Commission after it was revealed his microphone had a technical glitch at one of the debates, but Trump also butted heads with the organization after he tried to have a group of women who have accused former President Bill Clinton of sexual assault appear in a VIP-seating area at the second debate between Trump and then-Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
— Alan Rappeport (@arappeport) December 12, 2019
Putting the women in that position near the stage would have forced Clinton to walk past them as she entered the stage. The Commission wouldn’t allow their presence there, and even threatened to have security remove them from the premises, NBC News reported.
According to the Commission’s website, there has been at least one televised presidential debate in every election year since 1976. Since 1996, there have been at least three debates between the top presidential candidates.
Former aides to the 2016 Clinton campaign said they doubted that Trump would skip the debate circuit, arguing that not being a part of at least one debate would be a huge political mistake that would make him look bad.