Republican National Committee Chairwoman (RNC) Ronna McDaniel told the Commission on Presidential Debates she will have “no choice” but to advise presidential candidates to avoid debates if changes are not made.
“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 in a letter.
She continued, “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.”
McDaniel argued one of the commission’s errors was it waited to host a single debate until after voters headed to the polls during early voting.
Read the letter below:
Early 2024 battle: RNC has this letter to the debate commission complaining about “virtual” debate choice, plexiglass, moderator selection and many other things. Says without changes they will advise candidate not to participate. See demands and complaints below… pic.twitter.com/kxq5XowE9E
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) June 2, 2021
She called the commission’s decision to move the October 15 debate to a “virtual format” a “massive disservice” to the candidates and those who helped prepare for the debate.
Claiming the commission “made an amateur error that nearly derailed the debate itself,” McDaniel noted, “President Trump noticed that the CPD had installed plexiglass shields without informing the candidates.”
She continued, “Thanks to his background in television, the President realized that the candidates would only see their reflections once the stage was lit and the debate began.”
McDaniel listed several changes she hopes the commission will make, including limiting terms for its Board of Directors, enacting a code of conduct prohibiting officers, directors, and staff on the commission from making comments about candidates, committing to hosting at least one debate before early voting, and establishing “transparent criteria” for selecting moderators.
“Our sincere hope is that the CPD accepts this criticism and works to correct its mistakes,” McDaniel wrote.
She added, “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.”
Trump previously railed against the commission in December 2019, calling it “very biased.”
He explained, “The problem is that the so-called Commission on Presidential Debates is stacked with Trump Haters [and] Never Trumpers. 3 years ago they were forced to publicly apologize for modulating my microphone in the first debate against Crooked Hillary.”
The former president went on, “As President, the debates are up to me, and there are many options, including doing them directly [and] avoiding the nasty politics of this very biased Commission. I will make a decision at an appropriate time but in the meantime, the Commission on Presidential Debates is NOT authorized to speak for me (or R’s)!”
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