Trump suggests he'll debate Democratic nominee, but avoid traditional host

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By Allan Smith  with NBC News Politics
Image: President Donald Trump leaves the White House on Nov. 20, 2019.
President Donald Trump leaves the White House on Nov. 20, 2019.   -   Copyright  Patrick Semansky AP file

President Donald Trump on Monday attacked the commission responsible for facilitating presidential debates as biased against him after it was reported that he was considering skipping the 2020 matchups.

"I look very much forward to debating whoever the lucky person is who stumbles across the finish line in the little watched Do Nothing Democrat Debates," Trump tweeted. "My record is so good on the Economy and all else, including debating, that perhaps I would consider more than 3 debates."

"The problem," Trump claimed, "is that the so-called Commission on Presidential Debates is stacked with Trump Haters & Never Trumpers. 3 years ago they were forced to publicly apologize for modulating my microphone in the first debate against Crooked Hillary. As President, the debates are up to me, and there are many options, including doing them directly & avoiding the nasty politics of this very biased Commission."

The president added that he "will make a decision at an appropriate time but in the meantime, the Commission on Presidential Debates is NOT authorized to speak for me (or R's)!"

The Commissionon Presidential Debates (CPD) is a nonprofit that produces the general election presidential and vice presidential debates. The commission, following Trump's first debate against Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016, acknowledged an issue with the audio, but did not apologize.

"Regarding the first debate, there were issues regarding Donald Trump's audio that affected the sound level in the debate hall," the CPD statement said.

An NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll following the first 2016 general election debate showed that a majority of likely voters who either watched the event or said they followed news coverage of it said Clinton bested Trump. Fifty-two percent of those likely voters said Clinton won, 21 percent thought Trump came out on top while 26 percent said neither candidate won the debate.

The CPD did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News.