Donald Trump lashes out at ‘rigged’ debate commission

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

OCALA, Fla., Oct. 12 (UPI) — Donald Trump said Wednesday that the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates is “rigged” to support Hillary Clinton because a former Clinton administration official is its co-chairman.

Trump made the remarks at a rally in Ocala, Fla., when he criticized that co-chairman, Mike McCurry, who was press secretary to former President Bill Clinton.

“By the way, you know that so-called Commission on Presidential Debates?” Trump asked. “The head guy used to work for Bill Clinton. Did you know that? I just found that out. The head guy worked for Bill Clinton. Ay, ay, ay, what a rigged deal this is.”

The Commission on Presidential Debates has two chairmen, McCurry, a Democrat and Frank Fahrenkopf, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee. It does not receive funding from either party or any political groups and acts as an independent arbiter to stage debates in U.S. presidential elections.

Trump’s comments Wednesday are the latest in a string of criticisms about the presidential election process. On Monday, he told supporters that polls sponsored by the media and conducted by independent groups are “crooked” and that he is skeptical of their validity.

Nearly every national poll released in the wake of a video in which Trump talks crudely about groping women have shown him losing ground and trailing Hillary Clinton.

Trump has also lashed out at members of his own Republican Party, most notably House Speaker Paul Ryan, who said he will no longer defend or campaign for Trump.

At the same rally in Florida Wednesday, Trump claimed Ryan is part of a “sinister” plot within the GOP establishment to derail his campaign.

Part of Trump’s harsh words about the media comes after the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks released an email allegedly sent by former Democratic National Committee Chair Donna Brazile, in which Brazile, who was working as a CNN commentator at the time, sent Clinton Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri an email with what appears to be a question drafted to be asked of Clinton at a town hall event in March. A version of the question nearly identical to the one Brazile sent, concerning Clinton’s position on the death penalty, was posed to the Democratic candidate a day later at the town hall.

CNN and Brazile both denied the question was leaked to Clinton’s campaign beforehand.


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