Trump Admits He Had No Leverage to Demand Anything from CNN Over Debate

trumpBefore the first CNN debate, Donald Trump demanded the network give all the profits from that debate to veterans’ groups. This week, he told CNN that he might not show up for the next debate unless they give $5 million to veterans’ groups. But as Trump admitted today, he didn’t exactly have the leverage to do that.

First, CNN President Jeff Zucker pretty adamantly said no, explaining that “we do not pay candidates to appear at debates.”

And second, Trump gave an interview to The Washington Post today in which he candidly said, “When you’re leading in the polls, I think it’s too big of a risk to not do the debate. I don’t think I have the kind of leverage I’d like to have in a deal and I don’t want to take the chance of hurting my campaign. So I’ll do the debate.”

So basically, it was an empty threat.

Trump said that he still hopes CNN donates the money, but admitted the problem is he doesn’t want everyone calling him “chicken” for not showing up at the debate. “Every single person,” he said, “doing the debate would knock the hell out of me and say I’m afraid to be there. The one thing I’m not in life is a chicken.”

[image via screengrab]

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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac