RNC vows to advise presidential candidates against debates unless reforms made
Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel warned the Commission on Presidential Debates Tuesday that the RNC would advise future GOP candidates against participating in CPD-hosted debates unless "significant reforms" are made.
Why it matters: McDaniel's letter to the nonpartisan forum follows up on several complaints made by former President Trump last year on perceived issues.
- These include moderator choices, muting candidates' mics after Trump and then-presidential nominee Joe Biden's interruptions-plagued first debate, and the CPD's plans to hold the second debate virtually as a pandemic precaution — which was replaced by dueling town halls after Trump refused to attend.
What they're saying: McDaniel wrote that the first debate occurred after early voting had begun in several states. She also noted the CBP planned to install plexiglass shields, but Trump identified a reflections problem "[t]hanks to his background in television" and caught the "error" in time.
- "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.
- "Our sincere hope is that the CPD accepts this criticism and works to correct its mistakes.
"If not, the RNC will have no choice but to advise future Republican candidates against participating in CPD-hosted debates, and the RNC will look for other options for its candidates to debate the issues before the American people in a neutral and nonpartisan forum."
What to watch: McDaniel has asked the CPD to respond by July 31 to her request for changes, which include holding at least one debate before early voting starts, limiting board directors' terms and banning commission members from speaking publicly candidates and reprimanding them if they do.
- The commission could not immediately be reached for comment.