On Thursday, the Republican National Committee (RNC) unanimously voted to withdraw from the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) and require Republican presidential candidates to attest in writing that they will only appear at party-sanctioned primary and general election debates.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the resolution passed by the committee says, in part, “Any presidential primary candidate who does not agree in writing, or who participates in any debate that is not a sanctioned debate, shall not be eligible to participate in any further sanctioned debates.”
RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel released a statement explaining that the move was made in response to bias from the CPD.
“Debates are an important part of the democratic process, and the RNC is committed to free and fair debates,” the statement said. “The Commission on Presidential Debates is biased and has refused to enact simple and commonsense 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.”
“Today, the RNC voted to withdraw from the biased CPD, and we are going to 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,” the statement added.
In a press release, the RNC detailed the decision and the reasoning behind it.
“Restoring faith in our elections means making sure our candidates can compete on a level playing field,” the press release said, adding that the “change is the culmination of a year-long process.”
“To be clear: we are not walking away from debates. We are walking away from the CPD,” the RNC explained. “It is biased and does not serve the interest of the American people.”
The RNC then gave examples of the CPD’s bias:
- Waiting until 26 states had begun early voting before hosting the first presidential debate in 2020.
- Making unilateral changes to previously agreed-upon debate formats and conditions, in some cases without even notifying the candidates.
- Selecting a moderator in 2020 who had once worked for Joe Biden.
- Failing to maintain the organization’s strict nonpartisanship, with a majority of its Board Members publicly disparaging the Republican-nominee.
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