Republican Donald Trump has called the schedule for debates with Democrat Hillary Clinton "unacceptable" because two of the three outings conflict with major National Football League games.
Here’s what Trump said late Friday on Twitter:
The schedule was announced last September by the Commission on Presidential Debates.
The bipartisan panel is headed by Frank Fahrenkopf Jr., a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, and Michael McCurry, who was a press secretary to former Democratic President Bill Clinton.
Three presidential debates and one for the vice presidential candidates are scheduled.
During the primaries, Democrat Bernie Sanders attacked the Democratic National Committee for scheduling debates at times that he argued would draw few viewers.
Two of the presidential contests will be held at the same times as NFL games: The first debate, on Monday, Sept. 26, occurs the same night as the Atlanta Falcons play New Orleans Saints.
The second, set for Sunday, Oct. 9, will appear opposite a match-up between the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers.
Trump says he doesn't like going up against NFL games when he debates Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton this fall and that the football league complained to him about the debate schedule in a letter, The Associated Press reports.
A spokesman for the NFL says the football league didn't send a letter to Trump as the billionaire businessman claims.
The commission "did not consult with any political parties or campaigns in making these decisions," according to a statement issued Saturday.
In an interview with ABC's Sunday show "This Week," Trump was asked if he would accept the commission's schedule. He replied: "Well, I'll tell you what I don't like. It's against two NFL games. I got a letter from the NFL saying, 'This is ridiculous. Why are the debates against' — 'cause the NFL doesn't wanna go against the debates. 'Cause the debates are gonna be pretty massive, from what I understand, OK?"
Asked about Trump's assertion, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy tweeted: "While we'd obviously wish the Debate Commission could find another night, we did not send a letter to Mr Trump."
"I don't know how the dates were picked. I don't know why those particular dates," Trump told ABC.
The Clinton campaign did not immediately comment on Trump's assertion.
Trump did allow that three debates were "fine" and that he'd rather have three than one.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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