GOP policy expert predicts debate failure for Trump: ‘He can't fake his way through 90 minutes’
Donald Trump (AFP Photo/Joshua Lott)

A Republican Party policy guru predicts the upcoming presidential debate won't go well for Donald Trump, who's already complaining that he won't get a fair shot.


Hillary Clinton has scaled back her campaign schedule this week to prepare for Monday's debate against her Republican rival, while Trump asks his supporters what he should say and "works the refs" by claiming the debates are "rigged" against him.

But, according to CNN contributor and Hoover Institution research fellow Lanhee Chen, the real estate developer and former reality TV star won't be able to wing it in this debate like he did during the GOP primaries.

"He can't fake his way through 90 minutes," said Chen, in an appearance on CNN's "Party People" podcast with Kevin Madden and Mary Katherine Ham.

Chen, who worked on the presidential campaigns for Mitt Romney and Marco Rubio, said voters in the general election expect to hear more substance than GOP primary voters.

"The 90-minute general election format makes it a lot harder to one line your way through it," Chen said. "I think it's going to be very, very hard for Donald Trump to spend 90 minutes bumper-stickering. I think he's got to have something."

Clinton faces her own challenge in exposing Trump's weaknesses without annoying voters, Chen said.

"I think for Hillary Clinton the challenge is: How does she expose the deficiencies in what he said or proposed without sounding pedantic?" Chen said. "She's going to sound like the teacher that nobody likes, and nobody wants to hear the teacher they don't like lecturing them for 90 minutes."