RNC Votes to Withdraw From Presidential Debates Commission
WASHINGTON — The Republican National Committee voted unanimously on Thursday to withdraw from the Commission on Presidential Debates, claiming the organization unfairly favored Democrat Joe Biden over incumbent Republican Donald Trump ahead of the 2020 election.
The commission has organized every general election debate between major-party candidates since 1988, and has never in the intervening 34 years faced such a claim of outright bias.
It was set up as a nonprofit in 1987 that would be sponsored by both the Republican and Democratic parties.
In a statement, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel promised the party would “find newer, better debate platforms to ensure that future nominees are not forced to go through the biased CPD in order to make their case to the American people.”
As reported in January in The Well News, the RNC — and the Trump campaign — was angered by the commission’s selection of then–C-SPAN host and former Biden intern Steve Scully to host the second 2020 debate.
Though that debate was later canceled due to Trump’s having contracted COVID-19 and after he refused to appear remotely as an alternative, the party’s anger did not subside.
In a January letter, McDaniel blasted the commission for refusing to enact “simple and common sense reforms to help ensure fair debates including hosting debates before voting begins and selecting moderators who have never worked for candidates on the debate stage.”
In light of the RNC’s latest move, it is now unclear how the anticipated 2024 debates can or will proceed.
The Well News has reached out to the commission for comment.
In January, when McDaniel threatened to “prohibit future Republican nominees from participating in CPD-sponsored debates” unless the commission changed its rules, the organization said it “deals directly with candidates for president and vice president who qualify for participation.”
“The CPD’s plans for 2024 will be based on fairness, neutrality and a firm commitment to help the American public learn about the candidates and the issues,” the organization said at the time.
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