Trump lays the groundwork to back out of the debates: "I don’t think Anderson Cooper should be a moderator"

The GOP nominee is already priming his supporters to cry afoul about his treatment at the debates

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published September 16, 2016 8:22PM (EDT)

In the Washington Post interview published Thursday evening that caused all the stir about Donald Trump's continued birtherism, the GOP nominee also announced that he no longer supports at least one of the already agreed upon debate moderators.

“I don’t think Anderson Cooper should be a moderator, because Anderson Cooper works for CNN and over the last couple of days, I’ve seen how Anderson Cooper behaves,” Trump told The Post's Robert Costa. “He’ll be very biased, very biased. I don’t think he should be a moderator.”

Just days prior, the controversial candidate called for a debate with no moderators at all, preemptively complaining that the presence of journalists will rig create an "unfair" advantage for his opponent.

"Let Hillary and I sit there and just debate, because I think that the system is being rigged, so I think it's going to be a very unfair debate," Trump said on CNBC.

Cooper is set to team up with ABC News' Martha Raddatz for a town hall style event on October 9, a format and moderators that the Trump campaign had already agreed to. Trump had previously not committed to participating in the debates, objecting first to the debate dates — which overlap with NFL games — and later saying that he would not agree until the moderators were announced.

But on Thursday, Trump complained to The Post that "CNN is the Clinton News Network and Anderson Cooper, I don’t think he can be fair.”

During the Republican primary, however, Trump participated in two town hall events moderated by Cooper and did not object to his participation or complain about his performance, even after the CNN host said one of Trump's retorts was “the argument of a five-year-old."

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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