Republican presidential nominee Donald TrumpDonald TrumpYoungkin ad features mother who pushed to have 'Beloved' banned from son's curriculum White House rejects latest Trump claim of executive privilege Democrats say GOP lawmakers implicated in Jan. 6 should be expelled MORE believes some members of the media are "gaming the system" by pressuring debate moderators to go tougher on him than Democratic rival Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSuper PACs release ad campaign hitting Vance over past comments on Trump I voted for Trump in 2020 — he proved to be the ultimate RINO in 2021 Neera Tanden tapped as White House staff secretary MORE.
"It's called gaming the system, like Bobby Knight, he would hit the referee, well they're hitting Matt Lauer and they're trying to game the system," Trump told Fox News "Media Buzz" host Howard Kurtz on Sunday, referring to the college basketball coaching legend.
"They want, and I think it's terrible, but they want the host to go after Trump."
Longtime NBC "Today" show co-host Matt Lauer was eviscerated by many media outlets — mostly left-leaning — for his treatment of Clinton when he moderated NBC's recent "Commander-in-Chief Forum" in New York City that featured both candidates, albeit separately.
Trump, however, on Sunday commended Lauer for being tough on both candidates.
"Matt Lauer did a fine job. Matt Lauer was very tough on me, and I guess he was tough on her, I thought frankly he was tougher on me. I won that evening, the forum, the NBC forum, and according to every poll and everybody just about, I won that evening with Hillary."
Kurtz also asked why Trump restored press credentials for certain news organizations that he had deemed "grossly unfair" to him, including The Washington Post, the Huffington Post, Buzzfeed and Politico, among others.
"Because they can't treat me any worse," Trump said, "so I might as well let them be there."
Trump and Clinton face off in the first presidential debate of the season on Sept. 26 at Hofstra University in New York.
NBC's Lester Holt, whom Trump has called "a good guy" in an August radio interview with Hugh Hewitt, will be the moderator.