GOP bans its candidates from presidential debates – Action News Now

Unhappy with debate committee’s refusal to implement reforms, GOP says its contenders won’t participate unless its demands are met

The Republican National Committee (RNC) has signaled that it plans to essentially boycott the organization of U.S. presidential debates, saying Republican voters no longer trust the organization to treat candidates fairly.

“The RNC has a responsibility to ensure that its future presidential candidates have the opportunity to debate their opponents on a level playing field,” The party’s chairwoman, Rhona McDaniel, said in a letter to the Presidential Debate Committee (PDC) on Thursday. “As long as the CPD appears intent on blocking meaningful reforms to restore its credibility as a fair and nonpartisan actor in the Republican Party, the RNC will take all steps to ensure that future Republican presidential candidates have that opportunity elsewhere.”

McDaniel said the Republican National Committee will change its rules at its winter meeting next month to bar the party’s candidates from participating in CPD debates. She said the committee displayed bias against Republicans and undermined its credibility by unilaterally changing the format of previously agreed debates and selecting moderators who had worked for Democratic candidates.

McDaniel said it was also reluctant to make changes proposed by the RNC, such as disqualifying potential moderators with clear conflicts of interest and prohibiting CPD officers and staff from publicly commenting on any candidates. “These proposals are common-sense solutions for an organization whose unique, nonpartisan role in U.S. elections requires it to stand above the political struggle. In fact, we believe that most neutral observers know that Shocked when these late reforms are not yet CPD policy.”

The RNC has not designated an alternative forum for its candidates in lieu of working with traditional U.S. debate organizers. The CPD was established in 1987 with the co-sponsorship of Republicans and Democrats. It has been conducting all presidential and vice presidential debates since 1988.

The committee angered the feathers by moving the second presidential debate online in 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic, prompting then-President Donald Trump to say he would not participate. Trump also accused moderators of being biased against him, pointing out in 2016 that moderator Mike McCurry had served as press secretary in the Clinton administration.

The CPD responded to the RNC’s complaint last month, saying it “Not negotiating terms or conditions of operation with anyone.” On Thursday, the commission said its 2024 election plan would be based on “Fair, neutral and committed to helping the American public understand candidates and issues.”