The first of three primetime presidential debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is scheduled for Sept. 26 at Hofstra University in New York.
The other two debates are scheduled for Oct. 9 at Washington University in St. Louis, and Oct. 19 at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. All three debates will take place from 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Eastern.
But whether the debates will actually happen remains to be seen.
Trump, who skipped a debate in January during the Republican primaries and instead held a rally for veterans that he said raised $6 million, has again threatened to boycott the debates.
“I want to debate very badly. But I have to see the conditions,” Trump told Time earlier this month, although the debate schedule was set almost a year ago.
“I renegotiated the debates in the primaries, remember? They were making a fortune on them and they had us in for three and a half hours and I said that’s ridiculous,” Trump said. “I’m sure they’ll be open to any suggestions I have, because I think they’ll be very fair suggestions. But I haven’t [seen the conditions] yet.”
Trump said he doesn’t want to compete with National Football League games. And he has concerns over who the moderators will be. The Commission on Presidential Debates said it would announce them “later this summer.”
“I’ll have to see who the moderators are. Yeah, I would say that certain moderators would be unacceptable, absolutely,” said Trump, who has routinely criticized reporters covering his campaign and banned several major news outlets from his events.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign has said she’s willing to participate in all three debates.
The first debate will be divided into six segments of 15 minutes each “on major topics to be selected by the moderator and announced at least one week before the debate,” according to the Commission on Presidential Debates.
“The moderator will open each segment with a question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. Candidates will then have an opportunity to respond to each other. The moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a deeper discussion of the topic.”
The second debate will be a town hall meeting, “in which half of the questions will be posed directly by citizen participants and the other half will be posed by the moderator based on topics of broad public interest as reflected in social media and other sources.”
The third and final debate will be same format as the first debate.
Trump and Clinton’s debate over the debates comes as recent polls show Clinton with a steady lead over Trump.
Trump’s displeasure with the format and timing of the debates is nothing new. Candidates often try to negotiate terms of the debates. And in 1964, 1968 and 1972, there were no presidential debates at all after the lopsided televised debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon.
There is also a vice-presidential debate scheduled between Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Mike Pence on Oct. 4 at Longwood University in Farmville, Va. The debate will be divided into nine timed segments of approximately 10 minutes each. “The moderator will ask an opening question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. The moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a deeper discussion of the topic,” the commission said.
As for the third-party candidates, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced today that it would use several national polls to determine if they get to participate on the main stage.