Donald Trump isn’t a fan of Republican debates that stretch on and on. And being the master negotiator he is, the top (or near top) contender for the Republican nomination for President is doing something about it. Mainly, he’s going directly to the networks to demand his voice is heard.
The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Trump and his advisers are working with television execs to negotiate the debate formats and even the content for the debates, citing a source familiar with the discussions.
Interestingly, Trump’s demands appear to be directly at odds with the work done by numerous Republican strategists recently who are striving to set standards for the upcoming debates.
Per the newspaper:
The move by Trump, coming just hours after more than a dozen Republican strategists huddled in the Washington suburbs to craft a list of possible demands, effectively throttles an effort by the campaigns and the letter’s drafter, longtime GOP attorney Ben Ginsberg, to find consensus and work collectively to negotiate terms.
Trump, however, has proven that he’s willing to work with others to get what he wants at the debates. He even worked with retired neurosurgeon and top GOP contender Ben Carson to pen a letter to CNBC ahead of the third debate last week.
“Mr. Trump and Dr. Carson do agree to a 120-minute debate that includes commercial breaks and opening and closing statements. Mr. Trump and Dr. Carson do not, and will not, agree to appear at a debate that is more than 120 minutes long including commercial breaks,” said the two candidates’ reps in a statement at the time.
In this case, however, Carson’s campaign was clear about the importance of the recent talks between Republican strategists and the networks over Trump’s demands.
“If they want to send their own letter, that’s fine – a letter’s a letter,” saidBarry Bennett, Carson’s campaign manager, to the newspaper. “The Trump folks were clear about what they wanted, and the Carson campaign agrees with them 90 percent of the time. We’re getting opening and closing statements. We’re going to get some parity in questions. We’re going to actually get formats announced to the campaigns. Trump’s basically asking for the same thing, he’s just going to do with his own letterhead.”