A day after Donald Trump complained about the timings of the presidential debates clashing with National Football League (NFL) games, the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) rebuffed the Republican presidential nominee’s comments.
“The Commission on Presidential Debates started working more than 18 months ago to identify religious and federal holidays, baseball league playoff games, NFL games, and other events in order to select the best nights for the 2016 debates. It is impossible to avoid all sporting events, and there have been nights on which debates and games occurred in most election cycles,” the commission said in a statement Sunday. “A debate has never been rescheduled as a result.”
The presidential debates are scheduled to take place on Sept. 26, Oct. 9 and Oct. 19 — dates that were announced last September. The NFL regular-season schedule, on the other hand, was released in April this year.
The Sept. 26 debate will clash with “Monday Night Football” on ESPN, while the Oct. 9 one runs up against “Sunday Night Football” on NBC.
“As a point of reference, in a four-year period, there are four general election debates (three presidential and one vice presidential), and approximately 1,000 NFL games,” the commission said in the statement. “The CPD believes the dates for the 2016 debates will serve the American public well.”
Trump had, during an interview on ABC’s “This Week,” expressed his displeasure with the schedule, stating that Hillary Clinton “wants to be against the NFL.”
“I got a letter from the NFL saying this is ridiculous, why are the debates against — because the NFL doesn't want to go against the debates because the debates are going to be pretty massive, from what I understand,” Trump said. “And I don't think we should be against the NFL. I don't know how the dates were picked. I don't know why those particular dates.”
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
The NFL, however, denied sending any letter to Trump.
— Brian McCarthy (@NFLprguy) July 30, 2016
Meanwhile, Trump’s Democratic rival, campaigning in Ohio on Sunday, also hit out at Trump for suggesting that she had rigged the debate schedule.
“There is a nonpartisan, independent commission that sets up the debates, right? And I was told they set up a schedule last fall and neither campaign — because who knew, we didn’t know who the nominees would be — were involved,” Clinton reportedly said. “I am going to be there. That is all I have to say.”