Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Wednesday accused the organization in charge of presidential debates of rigging the contests against him because one of its leaders worked in former President Bill Clinton’s administration.
Trump bragged to an audience in Florida that, despite being disadvantaged by the Commission on Presidential Debates, he triumphed in Sunday’s debate against “the enemy,” presumably referring to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
“You know that so-called Commission on Presidential Debates? The head guy used to work for Bill Clinton,” Trump told supporters in Ocala. “Ay yi yi, what a rigged deal this is.
“I have no respect for that group, by the way. I have none. It sounds good, presidential commission. Give me a break,” he continued. “That’s why I was so happy what we did to annihilate the enemy the other day, so happy because we’re dealing against a very dishonest system.”
A co-chair of the Commission on Presidential Debates is Mike McCurry, who served as Clinton’s White House press secretary from 1994 to 1998. The commission’s other co-chair, Frank Fahrenkopf, is a former Republican National Committee chairman. The commission itself says it’s nonpartisan.
Trump’s complaints of rigged systems and Republican leaders failing to support him seem to have intensified since Friday’s publication of a 2005 recording of him boasting about groping women and describing them in vulgar terms. Rallies this week have featured extended Trump diatribes against Clinton and GOP leaders who have distanced themselves from the nominee because of his remarks on the recording.
Trump, who is quick to embrace conspiracy theories, routinely claims the electoral system is stacked against him. Following his poor performance at the first presidential debate in September, Trump claimed it was “a rigged deal” and said moderator Lester Holt treated him unfairly.
On Wednesday, Trump again griped that he was sabotaged by a defective microphone in the first debate.
“It really came out of the first debate, which if I didn’t have a fixed microphone or a broken microphone, nobody’s been able to tell me, but I watched,” Trump said. “Couldn’t talk very good because my mic didn’t work.”
Trump was widely mocked after that debate when he first raised the microphone conspiracy theory, but there may have been a kernel of truth. The Commission on Presidential Debates said in a statement after that contest that “there were issues recarding Donald Trump’s audio that affected the sound level in the debate hall.” The statement didn’t elaborate.
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.