RNC threatens to tell candidates not to participate in presidential debates

·2 min read
Donald Trump
Donald Trump Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

The Republican National Committee is threatening to advise future presidential candidates to skip the general election debates.

RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel in a letter to the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates vowed to recommend that Republican candidates not take part in general election debates if the commission doesn't implement certain changes, CNN reports.

"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's campaign repeatedly slammed the debate commission in 2020 for a variety of reasons, including its plan to hold the second debate virtually; that debate was ultimately canceled after Trump refused to participate. The campaign also criticized the commission for the moderators selected and for muting the candidates' microphones at certain points during the last debate in response to a chaotic first debate with frequent interruptions by Trump.

McDaniel's letter reportedly includes a number of grievances about the commission, "including its decision on when to hold the debates, some of the political leanings of its board members and the selection of C-SPAN's Steve Scully to moderate what would have been the second contest," CNN writes. Scully once interned for then-Sen. Joe Biden, and he was suspended by C-SPAN after falsely blaming a tweet he sent to former White House staffer Anthony Scaramucci on hackers.

McDaniel is reportedly demanding the commission adopt term limits for its board, prohibit members from making public comments about the candidates, and hold at least one debate before early voting begins, per CNN. McDaniel also calls for the commission to establish a code for how moderators should act toward the candidates and ban moderators who "have an appearance of bias due to personal, professional, or partisan factors." The RNC chair is asking for a response from the commission by July 31.

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