No Debate Moderators

No debate moderatorDonald Trump wants to debate Hillary Clinton — but he doesn’t want a moderator on stage with them.  “I think we should have a debate with no moderator, just Hillary and I sitting there talking,” Trump said Monday morning in a phone interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

The Republican presidential candidate said that criticism of NBC’s Matt Lauer following last week’s candidate forum in New York City is an effort to manipulate the presidential debates.

“The fact is they are gaming the system,” Trump said of the criticism of Lauer, “and I think maybe we should have no moderator. Let Hillary and I sit there and just debate. I think the system is being rigged so it’s going to be a very unfair debate.”

He added, “I can see it happening right now because everybody was saying he was soft on Trump and now the new person is going to try and be really hard on Trump just to show the establishment what he can do. I think it’s very unfair what they are doing.”

Lauer was widely panned by Clinton allies as being too tough on Clinton and too soft on Trump. The candidate forum focused on national security and foreign policy issues. Each candidate was questioned for nearly 30 minutes by the moderator and audience members.

Trump praised Lauer in his interview with CNBC. “I think he was professional and has been treated unfairly,” he said. “He was not nice to me, and he was tough. I answered them better than she did.”

The first debate is Sept. 26, two weeks from Monday, on Long Island. It will be moderated by Lauer’s NBC colleague Lester Holt.

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