Donald Trump is complaining that Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party and conspiring against him by holding two of the presidential debates on the same night as NFL games. Trump complained about the issue during an interview with George Stephanopoulos, of ABC news, and even said he got a letter from the NFL commissioner saying the scheduling was “ridiculous.”
‘Well, I’ll tell you what I don’t like. It’s against two NFL games. I got a letter from the NFL saying, ‘This is ridiculous.’
As usual, Hillary & the Dems are trying to rig the debates so 2 are up against major NFL games. Same as last time w/ Bernie. Unacceptable!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 30, 2016
There is only one problem with Trump’s story. It’s a lie and an easily disproven one at that. CNN correspondent Brian Stelter reached out the the League and was told that they didn’t send Trump any letter. They did says that they wished the debates were on different nights, but firmly denied any contact with the Trump campaign.
Trump: "I got a letter from the NFL saying, 'This is ridiculous. Why are the debates against'" prime time games… https://t.co/ROebXOTVVn
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) July 30, 2016
The scheduling of the debates is unfortunate since the games will likely draw some viewers away from the debates and vice versa, but for Trump to claim it’s a conspiracy against him is simply absurd. The debates were scheduled last year by the Commission On Presidential Debates. This was long before Trump was chosen as his party’s nominee and the Commons is made up of both Democrats and Republicans.
Trump’s complaints have raised some speculation that he might simply be looking for a way out of the debates. During the primaries, he famously backed out of one of Fox News’ debates due to an argument with Megyn Kelly, but skipping a general election debate could cause problems for his campaign.
By skipping out on the Fox News debate, Trump was able to raise awareness of himself and his brand while positing himself as an outsider willing to take on the system. Granted, a lot of people saw it as childish, but there were likely also many voters who were impressed with his willingness to buck the the debates. However, it’s unlikely they’d feel the same way about him dodging the debates with Clinton.
Despite his victory in the primaries, Trump is still a bit of an unknown quality for many voters. There are likely many voters who will use the debates to learn more about the candidates and their policy positions. his brand is well-known, but his policies, beyond soundbites, are not. The debates are a chance for the GOP nominee to take his message to undecided voters and it’s an opportunity he can’t afford to miss.
Featured image via Getty Images.