“I would like money, frankly … The networks are making a fortune with the debates. I would like to see the wounded warriors and the veterans get some of the profits,” he told host George Stephanopoulos. “We are going in. We get nothing, and that’s fine. But they are getting 24, 25 million [viewers].”
The three GOP debates so far have proven to be a ratings bonanza for news networks, something that seems to have emboldened candidates to seek more demands over format and length, among other requests. On Sunday, some of the campaigns gathered in Washington for a meeting in which they discussed sending a joint letter to the networks with a list of demands.
But that unity began to unravel on Monday, as Trump and other campaigns said that they would negotiate with the networks on their own.
Trump also broached the idea of getting paid for the debates before CNN televised the GOP gathering at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in September.
He also said that debates should not last three hours — “that has always been my demand.”
“I just want to have a debate. I like the debate. They can ask tough questions,” he said. “I just want to answer the questions and be done with it.”
On Tuesday, President Obama skewered GOP complaints about the CNBC debate, including questions from the moderators. “They say, when I talk to Putin, he’s going to straighten out,” Obama said. “…And then its turns out they can’t handle a bunch of CNBC moderators.”
In response, Trump said, “He can’t handle the country. He’s doing a terrible job of running the country.”