Donald Trump would rather not have a moderator in his upcoming debates with Hillary Clinton, because he thinks he'll be treated "very, very unfairly" after his questioning by NBC's Matt Lauer during last week's presidential forum.
"Let Hillary and I sit there and just debate, because I think the system is being rigged," the GOP presidential nominee told CNBC's "Squawk Box" program Monday. "It's going to be a very unfair debate, and I can see it happening right now because everyone's saying that he was soft on Trump.
"Well, now the new person's going to try to be really hard on Trump just to show the establishment what he can do. So I think it's very unfair what they're doing."
The nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates has named NBC News' Lester Holt, ABC's Martha Raddatz, CNN's Anderson Cooper and Fox News' Chris Wallace as moderators for the upcoming series of debates, with C-SPAN's Steve Scully as a backup moderator.
Last week, Lauer was slammed by Democratic critics who thought he was too aggressive with his questions of Clinton over her private email server, but not hard enough on Trump over his prior statements about the war in Iraq.
"They all said I won and that Matt Lauer was easy on me," said Trump, but he thought Lauer was "very professional" during the NBC/MSNBC Commander-in-Chief Forum on Sept. 7.
"I think he's been treated very unfairly, but they all said that I won, and what they're doing is they're gaming the system so that when I go into the debate, I'm gonna get — be treated very, very unfairly by the moderators," said Trump.
He compared the forum and the upcoming debate, planned for Sept. 26, to a game coached by one-time Indiana University basketball coach Bobby Knight, who endorsed his candidacy earlier this year.
"Bobby would do numbers on the referee and toward the end of the game, they would just sort of, maybe subconsciously, they'd give him the calls and he was a master at it," Trump said.
"Well, they're doing the same thing now. They're saying about how Matt Lauer was nice to Trump. He wasn't nice to me. He was tough on me. He gave me tough [questions]. I answered them better than she did."
And by doing that, Trump said, the media is "gaming the system," so there should be no moderator at the debate.
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