President Donald Trump on Tuesday continued his attack on the Commission on Presidential Debates, suggesting that his upcoming face-off with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will be unfair because the debate’s moderator “cannot be neutral at all.”
“These people are not good people, this commission,” Trump told Fox & Friends hosts early Tuesday in an effort to sow distrust of the nonpartisan commission, adding: “a lot of funny things go on with them.”
The comments come after President Trump backed out of the second presidential debate last week, refusing to participate in an altered virtual format to protect the safety of all involved after he was diagnosed with COVID-19.
On Tuesday, the President took aim at the third debate’s moderator — telling Fox & Friends hosts that NBC News’ Kristen Welker “cannot be neutral at all.”
The President had primed supporters against the NBC News correspondent during an event in Arizona on Monday, calling Welker “a radical Democrat,” after tweeting Saturday how Welker has “always been terrible & unfair, just like most of the Fake News reporters, but I’ll still play the game.”
The comments appear to contradict those made by Trump senior adviser Jason Miller, who seemed to offer strong praise for Welker during a recent interview with Fox News’ Martha MacCallum.
“Look, I think I have a very high opinion of Kristen Welker,” Miller said, per Poynter. “I think she’s going to do an excellent job as the moderator for the third debate. I think she’s a journalist who is very fair in her approach. And I think that she’ll be a very good choice for this third debate.”
Trump’s ongoing accusations of bias against Welker follow a string of complaints by the President against previous debate moderators for the same reasons — whining claims of bias in the face of anyone who challenges him.
The Trump campaign back in August offered up a list of suggested moderators that unsurprisingly was packed with a host of the President’s preferred right-wing pundits and Fox News personalities.
Trump on Tuesday unequivocally dismissed Fox News’ Chris Wallace, who moderated the first debate, calling him “terrible” and suggesting he had only been neutral “to himself.” He similarly suggested that “Today” Show host Savannah Guthrie, who hosted an NBC town hall event with the President in lieu of a second debate, was “out of line” with tough questioning.
“That’s not fair,” Trump grumbled of the moderators. “It would be nice to have a host that can be not necessarily a contributor to the campaigns and the Democrats. It would be really nice.”
Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders during a separate interview with Fox & Friends hosts on Tuesday morning, appeared to cement the President’s effort to undermine the legitimacy of the debate commission, calling it “outdated.”
“It’s probably time to shut the commission down, and let the campaigns negotiate the deals for the debates among themselves,” Sanders said, adding that she believes “it’s time to end the commission.”