Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus further blurred this surreal election year’s line between reality and reality TV on Monday, suggesting that Donald Trump’s tenure as a host on “The Apprentice” prepared him to face off against Hillary Clinton in the first presidential debate.
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Priebus how Trump had prepared for Monday night’s face-off at Hofstra University in Long Island.
“Studying, preparing, going through hypotheticals and what scenarios might come up, but he’s very comfortable,” the RNC chair replied. “He did a great job in our primary debates. He’s also been through, what, 14 seasons, season finales. He will be prepared. He’s always showed up for the big dance, and he will be prepared and he’ll be ready to go tonight.”
Priebus declined to go into the “details” on Trump’s preparation, but emphasized that Clinton would be held to higher standards because she’s spent over 30 years in the political sphere.
Noting that Trump would “take the approach that best suits the situation” during the debate, Priebus praised the GOP nominee’s recent policy speeches and more staid public demeanor as proof that he could be “presidential.”
Clinton press secretary Brian Fallon spoke to Blitzer directly after his interview with Priebus, and immediately hit back at the “14 seasons” comment.
“You asked about Donald Trump’s qualifications, he stressed 14 series finales of ‘The Apprentice,’” Fallon said. “They’re hoping to coast on style and his television showmanship.”
Acknowledging that this blustery style helped Trump in the primary debates, Fallon said he couldn’t afford to rest on his laurels on the general election debate.
“I think the bar is higher for Donald Trump tonight,” he said. “It’s not just to come out and put on a good show. He has to show command of the issues.”