RNC Moves To Mandate That GOP Candidates Skip Traditional Presidential Debates

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Andrew Trunsky Political Reporter
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The Republican National Committee (RNC) on Thursday informed the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) that it would force GOP presidential candidates to not attend debates it runs going forward.

“The RNC will initiate the process of amending the Rules of the Republican Party at our upcoming Winter Meeting to prohibit future Republican nominees from participating in CPD-sponsored debates,” said Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel in the letter addressed to Frank Fahrenkopf and Kenneth Wollack, the CPD’s co-chairs, saying that GOP voters “have lost faith” in the commission’s ability to act in a nonpartisan manner.

McDaniel listed multiple reasons for the RNC’s actions, citing the CPD’s decision to wait until early voting already started before holding the first 2020 presidential debate and its failure “to maintain the organization’s strict nonpartisanship.” (RELATED: Ronna McDaniel: Presidential Debate Commission ‘In The Pocket Of Joe Biden’)

CLEVELAND, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 29: U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participate in the first presidential debate at the Health Education Campus of Case Western Reserve University on September 29, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. This is the first of three planned debates between the two candidates in the lead up to the election on November 3. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Then-President Donald Trump and then-Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden during the first presidential debate on September 29, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The proposed changes are set to be voted on during the RNC’s winter meeting in Salt Lake City in February. McDaniel added that the CPD “so far seem[s] designed to delay any reform until it is too late to matter for the 2024 election.” (RELATED: Commission On Presidential Debates Rejects Trump’s Request To Move Up Schedule, Add 4th Debate)

The commission responded in a statement Thursday, saying that it “deals directly with candidates for president and vice president who qualify for participation.”

“The CPD’s plans for 2024 will be based on fairness, neutrality and a firm commitment to help the American public learn about the candidates and the issues,” it added.

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