Politics

RNC Votes To Withdraw From ‘Biased’ Presidential Debates

(Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Reporter
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The Republican National Committee (RNC) unanimously voted Thursday to withdraw from the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) and is pledging to find another venue to hold debates.

CPD has hosted general presidential election debates since 1988 and was originally a joint venture of the Republican and Democratic Parties. However, in recent years, Republican candidates and their allies have complained that the commission is biased towards Democrats. They have cited the campaign donations and personal ties of members of the commission, as well as the treatment of GOP nominees.

“Debates are an important part of the democratic process, and the RNC is committed to free and fair debates. The Commission on Presidential Debates is biased and has refused to enact simple and common sense 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,” RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement.

“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.” (RELATED: RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel: Presidential Debate Commission ‘In The Pocket Of Joe Biden’)

Republicans have cited the personal ties and political views of CPD officials as evidence for bias as far back as 2012. Obama White House aide Valerie Jarrett served on a foundation board alongside the husband of the CPD’s executive director, and vice presidential debate moderator Martha Raddatz was previously married to an Obama appointee. That same year, Republicans blasted presidential debate moderator Candy Crowley for repeatedly violating debate rules and promoting Barack Obama’s talking points about the Benghazi terrorist attack.

Former President Donald Trump harshly criticized CPD, citing several board members’ donations to Hillary Clinton in 2016, as well as technical problems with his microphone during one debate. He threatened to withdraw from several debates with candidate Joe Biden, ultimately refusing to participate in one that CPD attempted to host virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

CPD’s decision to hold its first debate after 26 states began early voting was also a source of complaints.

CPD reportedly considered allowing moderators to cut off candidates’ microphones in 2020, after Trump and Biden repeatedly interrupted each other.