Republican Donald Trump said on Monday he was committed to participating in the three official presidential debates with rival Hillary Clinton, barring some unforeseen “natural disaster” like a hurricane.
“I expect to do all three,” Trump told reporters aboard his campaign plane in Ohio, where he and Clinton were hosting dueling campaign events as they wooed voters in the critical swing state.
Trump last month expressed doubt about participating in all three debates, the first of which will be held September 26 at Hofstra University in New York.
For a first-time debater, this cauldron of presidential political theater could present a daunting challenge, especially against a savvy political veteran like Clinton.
But Trump said he “enjoyed the debating process” during the Republican primaries, when he tussled with several party rivals including former Florida governor Jeb Bush and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
“I think I’m preparing somewhat like I prepared for the other debates,” Trump said. “As of this moment,” he will join Clinton for all three debates, he added.
Unless, he stressed, a natural disaster like a hurricane interferes.
The second debate occurs October 9 in St Louis, Missouri, while the final clash takes place October 19 in Las Vegas.
Clinton has suggested that Trump could be an unpredictable adversary in the debates, and that she was preparing for “wacky stuff” from the Republican candidate.
Clinton, the Democratic nominee, kicked off the home stretch of the race Monday, traveling aboard a new campaign plane that carried members of the press corps with her for the first time.
Trump had also resisted traveling with the media aboard his plane. But in an apparent response to Clinton’s move, Trump suddenly invited reporters onto his private jet for the short flight between Cleveland and Youngstown.