President Trump has been discussing with his campaign advisers the possibility of not participating in general election debates in 2020, two people close to the situation told The New York Times.
According to the Times report, Trump doesn’t trust the Commission on Presidential Debates, the nonprofit organization that puts on the debates.
The president is reportedly apprehensive of who will be chosen by the organization to moderate the debates.
“At a state-of-the-race campaign briefing in Arlington, Va., the president’s advisers declined to comment on what their plan was for the debates,” the Times reported. “One senior adviser to the president seemed to wince at the question, and said it was not something advisers were prepared to discuss until next year.”
During the 2016 campaign, Trump repeatedly complained about his debates with former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, claiming that he was put at a disadvantage.
“Not doing any would not be strategically smart,” Philippe Reines, a longtime Clinton adviser, told the paper.
Reines also said that he thinks Trump will “bluff that he won’t do any with the goal of only having to do one.”
Then candidate-Trump chose not to attend a Fox News debate in early 2016, and instead held a fundraiser for veterans.
“We thought we’d let them start, and we wanted to be about 15 minutes into that hour,” Trump said before joking that his event had more cameras than the debate.