With the election day quickly approaching, its crunch time for the presidential candidates. Donald Trump has tentatively agreed to three scheduled TV debates this fall against his Democratic presidential rival Hillary Clinton.
But, before he makes his final commitment he wants to see the conditions of the debates that have been determined by a bipartisan commission.
“I will absolutely do three debates,” said Trump to TIME in a phone interview. “I want to debate very badly. But I have to see the conditions.”
So far Trump has said he agrees, even though he is disappointed in the timing. Two of debates are slotted to be during primetime NFL games.
Trump has previously mentioned receiving a letter from the National Football League also disapproving of the debate timing. But, a NFL spokesman then disputed this claim, probably receiving pressure from elsewhere.
The three 90-minute debates are sponsored by the Commission on presidential Debates and they have been scheduled on Sept. 26 in Hempstead, N.Y.; Oct. 9 in St. Louis; and Oct. 19 in Las Vegas. The vice president debate is slotted on Oct. 4 in Farmville, Va. The venues hosting the debates are also preparing for a three-person forum. This is in the event that a third candidate reaches the 15% polling threshold next month.
“I renegotiated the debates in the primaries, remember? They were making a fortune on them and they had us in for three and a half hours and I said that’s ridiculous,” said Trump to TIME. “I’m sure they’ll be open to any suggestions I have, because I think they’ll be very fair suggestions. But I haven’t [seen the conditions] yet. They’re actually presented to me tonight.”
The Clinton campaign seems to be impatient about this matter. Clinton’s Chairman John Podesta stated that she would be accepting all debate dates and criticized Trump for dragging his feet. “It is concerning that the Trump campaign is already engaged in shenanigans around these debates,” said Podesta. “We will accept the commission’s invitation and expect Donald Trump to do the same.”
Trump just wants to make sure it’s fair, especially when it comes to the commission’s choice of moderators.
“I’ll have to see who the moderators are. Yeah, I would say that certain moderators would be unacceptable, absolutely,” said Trump to TIME. “I did very well in the debates on the primaries. According to the polls, I won all of them. So I look forward to the debates. But, yeah, I want to have fair moderators … I will demand fair moderators.”
Trump’s tentative behavior shouldn’t be seen as a weakness. Shouldn’t our future president never settle, while always be reading the fine print?