The National Committee of the Republican Party voted unanimously on Thursday Its participation In the Presidential Debate Commission, the organization that has long managed the general election presidential debates.
In a statement, RNC President Rona McDonnell said the commission was biased and refused to implement simple and general reforms that would help ensure fair discussions, including conducting pre – vote debates and selecting evaluators who have never worked for candidates on the debate platform.
The Commission was formed in 1987 as a non-profit organization funded by Republicans and Democrats, and has been sponsoring debates in every presidential election since 1988. Co-chairs of the group include former RNC leader Frank Forenkop.
CNN approached the Commission for comment.
Thursday’s referendum called for a break from the commission several months after the RNC. In June 2021, McDaniel sent out a letter outlining several complaints about the Commission’s practices, which reflects former President Donald Trump’s concerns about holding 2020 debates.
In January, McDonnell sent another letter saying, “We will not ban future Republican candidates from participating in pro – CPD debates.”
The RNC says it has not completely excluded its future candidates from the debate.
The commission drew considerable outrage from Trump during the 2020 campaign, with him and his campaign aides frequently blaming elected analysts, the commission’s decision to hold a second debate during the Corona virus epidemic and the choice to disable each candidate’s mic during the final debate, with significant interruptions from the then president after the first contest.
Evaluators were a central issue for Republicans in 2020 – especially the choice of C-SPAN’s Steve Scully to temper a second contest.
The Trump campaign attacked Scully for working for Biden nearly four decades ago, when a journalist accidentally took to Twitter to publicly access Trump’s short-lived White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci. When Outreach frustrated the Republicans, Scully said he had been hacked, and then something he admitted was not true. C-SPAN then put Scully on “administrative leave” for lying.
The commission eventually canceled the second debate after Trump refused to attend the virtual debate despite concerns about his Govt-19 diagnosis.
The RNC advocated for a number of changes in the Commission, including the adoption of time limits for its committee and the barring of members from making public comments about any of the candidates. In response to Trump’s concerns, McDonnell called for more explicit criteria for choosing which moderators to debate the general election debate, “professional or biased.”
This story has been updated with additional reporting.
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