Politics & Policy

RNC Will Advise Presidential Nominee to Skip Debates Unless Reforms Adopted

The Charlotte Convention Center is set for 2020 RNC delegates to gather in Charlotte, N.C., August 24, 2020. (Travis Dove/Reuters)

The Republican National Committee (RNC) criticized the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) that has organized the presidential and vice presidential general election debates for over thirty years, stating that it will advise GOP presidential candidates against participating in debates until reforms are adopted.

RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel penned a letter to the nonpartisan CPD to voice her objections to the way the commission holds debates, Fox News first reported.

“The CPD’s repeated missteps and the partisan actions of its Board Members make clear that the organization no longer provides the fair and impartial forum for presidential debates which the law requires and the American people deserve,” McDaniel wrote.

Former president Donald Trump criticized the body ahead of the 2020 election over the debate format as well as moderator selection and performance during the general election debates.  One such debate between Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden was cancelled after Trump was diagnosed with COVID.

“Unless the CPD adopts significant reforms to ensure that it better fulfills this important, nonpartisan function, the RNC will have no choice but to advise its future nominees against participating in CPD-hosted debates,” she added.

McDaniel stated that it’s the RNC’s “sincere hope…that the CPD accepts this criticism and works to correct its mistakes.” She asserted that if modifications aren’t made, “the RNC will look for other options for its candidates to debate the issues before the American people in a neutral and nonpartisan forum.”

In a statement to Fox News, McDaniel clarified some of the RNC’s concerns with the way the commission conducted the 2020 election cycle. She noted that the CPD failed “in 2020 to host a single debate before the start of early voting, making unilateral changes without informing the candidates, and allowing Members of its Board of Directors to make biased and partisan statements against the Republican nominee.”

She said the Republican party “needs assurances that the CPD will make meaningful reforms to the debate process by working with stakeholders to restore the faith and legitimacy it has lost.”

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