Following the first presidential debate of the 2016 election -- which, by most polls' and pundits' accounts, Hillary Clinton ultimately won -- some people are left wondering: Will Donald Trump pull out of the next debate? According to a CNN/ORC post-debate poll, 62 percent of voters agreed that Clinton won the first debate, while only 27 percent thought Donald Trump came out on top, which paints a bleak beginning for the Republican nominee's debating abilities. After beholding Trump's defeat, Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta told MSNBC that Trump should be pulled out of the next two debates to avoid further meltdowns:
I think he came in unprepared, and what we saw was a meltdown. It would be smart if his manager pulled him out of the (next) two debates. Because it was a disaster.
While it's possible that Podesta's vision of Trump dropping out of the next debate could come to fruition, Trump has already spoken about future debate strategies, telling Fox News reporters about his possible tactics. "I may hit her harder in certain ways," Trump said. "I really eased up because I didn’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings." Barring commentary on the terrifying potential of Trump "hitting harder" in upcoming debates, Trump appears, at least on the surface, relatively unscathed from losing the first debate.
And yet, because the stakes of a bad debate are possibly even higher than not showing up — at least, based on Monday's performance and subsequent reactions — the potential for Trump to pull out may be on the table.
Despite his enduring confidence, the whispers that Trump should forego debating aren't only coming from the left, but also from some of his staunch supporters. Following the debate, Trump-loving former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani said he thought Trump should drop out of the next debates, though mostly basing that advice on Lester Holt's moderating:
If I were Donald Trump, I wouldn’t participate in another debate unless I was promised that the journalist would act like a journalist and not an incorrect, ignorant fact-checker.
Trump and his camp already began stoking claims of unfair conditions during the debate. Trump complained about the microphone he had:
Did you notice that? My mic was defective within the room. I wonder, was that on purpose?
While this doesn't necessarily sound like a man who intends to drop out of the next debate, it's not out of the realm of possibility. Just earlier this year, Trump dropped out of a GOP debate moderated by Megyn Kelly because of their ongoing beef.
Whether or not Trump decides to stay the course in the next few debates is to be seen, but we'll find out sooner than later. The second presidential debate is scheduled for Oct. 9. Godspeed to all parties involved.