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Debate Commission Fires Back After Trump Criticizes Schedule

The Commission on Presidential Debates signaled Sunday that it does not intend to reschedule the upcoming presidential debates, despite complaints from Republican nominee Donald Trump about conflicts with NFL football.

“It is impossible to avoid all sporting events, and there have been nights on which debates and games occurred in most election cycles,” the commission said in a statement. “A debate has never been rescheduled as a result.”

The statement went on to note, “The CPD believes the dates for the 2016 debates will serve the American public well.”

Trump on Saturday took to Twitter to criticize the schedule of debates between him and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. “As usual, Hillary & the Dems are trying to rig the debates so 2 are up against major NFL games. Same as last time w/ Bernie. Unacceptable!”

The commission has scheduled three debates between the nominees — Sept. 26, Oct. 9 and Oct. 19. The first two debates would conflict NFL games.

Trump told ABC News Saturday, “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.” An NFL spokesperson later denied that the league had sent Trump any such letter.

Read the full statement from the debate commission here:

“The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) started working more than 18 months ago to identify religious and federal holidays, baseball league playoff games, NFL games, and other events in order to select the best nights for the 2016 debates. It is impossible to avoid all sporting events, and there have been nights on which debates and games occurred in most election cycles. A debate has never been rescheduled as a result.

“As a point of reference, in a four-year period, there are four general election debates (three presidential and one vice presidential) and approximately 1000 NFL games.

“The CPD selects the debate dates a year in advance in order for the television networks to have maximum lead time and predictability in scheduling these extremely important civic education forums. The CPD believes the dates for the 2016 debates will service the American public well.”

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