Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said Monday that he has an “obligation” to go head-to-head with his rival Hillary Clinton in all three upcoming general election debates.
“I think you have an obligation to do the debates. I did them with the other, you know, the other cases. We had, I guess 11 debates,” Trump said about the Republican primary debates that helped elevate his bid for the nomination against 16 Republican opponents.
“Obviously I did well in the debates. Obviously according to the polls. The online polls they did right after the debates. And I think I’m doing the same thing,” he said, speaking on MSNBC.
When asked about his pre-debate preparation, Trump remained vague.
“I’m doing some. I’ve seen people do so much prep work when they get out there, they can’t speak. I’ve seen that,” he said.
Pressed further, the Manhattan billionaire gave a slight preview of what listeners can expect from his performance against Clinton.
“Well, I mean, it’s really basically called a lot of things right. Should we go into Iraq? Should we get out of Iraq the way we got out of Iraq? So many different things we’ve been talking about. Take the oil for years.”
Staying true to his primary debate prep work, Trump added that he won’t do a trial run before the big day.
“I hadn’t planned on it. I never did it before,” he said before joking that only a “natural disaster” could deter him from sparring against Clinton.
“Um, hurricanes, natural disaster. No, I expect to do all three,” he quipped, adding that the choice of moderators won’t keep him away.
“I like them — I respect the moderators. I do respect them. It’s interesting.”
NBC’s Lester Holt will moderate the first debate at Hofstra University in New York on Sept. 26, ABC’s Martha Raddatz and CNN anchor Anderson Cooper will moderate a town-meeting style debate on Oct. 9 at Washington University in St. Louis and Fox News host Chris Wallace will moderate the final presidential debate on Oct. 19 at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.