The major news networks all breathed a sigh of relief on Monday as Donald J. Trump agreed to participate in all three presidential debates. If Trump had declined to appear in any of the debates, the ratings would have fallen flat.
I expect to do all three. I look forward to the debates. I think it is an important element of what we’re doing. I think you have an obligation to do the debates.
— Donald Trump
Trump approves of moderators
Trump had earlier refused to commit to the debate schedule, first raising objections to two of the debates which overlap with NFL games and later saying that he wanted to know who the moderators would be before committing. Trump told Time magazine last month, “I would say that certain moderators would be unacceptable, absolutely.”
However, he appears fine with the announcement that the first debate on September 26 will be moderated by Lester Holt, of NBC News. The second “town hall” debate is set for October 9th and will be moderated by Martha Raddatz of ABC News and Anderson Cooper of CNN. The final debate on October 19 will be moderated by Chris Wallace of Fox News.
There is also a vice-presidential debate scheduled for October 4, which will be moderated by Elaine Quijano of CBS.
Primary debates went well for Trump
The Republican primary debates were good for Donald Trump and helped him outdistance the field. Trump may not get points for being a skilled debater, but he is a TV personality who knows how to use the camera to his advantage. Most would grant that Hillary Clinton will come to the debates better prepared with facts and details, and her biggest challenge may be to demonstrate her unflappability when Trump attacks and raises questions that may prove uncomfortable.
It’s a safe bet that a sizable portion of America will tune in for the debates, which promise to be an entertaining and enlightening event.