Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel lambasted the Commission on Presidential Debates in a letter Tuesday night, promising to advise presidential candidates against future debates unless the nonprofit commission makes a series of changes.
The commission’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,” McDaniel said in the letter.
McDaniel scolded the commission for who it picked for moderators during debates last year, its decision to switch to a virtual format for the second presidential debate after former President Donald Trump contracted Covid-19, and muting candidates’ mics after Trump’s repeated interruptions during the first 2020 debate.
The letter also attacked the Board of Directors directly by name, accusing members of bias against Trump.
McDaniel called for a series of reforms including term limits and a code of conduct for board members, a promise to hold “at least one debate” before the start of early voting, and a more transparent moderator picking process.
Journalists who have “an appearance of bias due to personal, professional, or partisan factors” should be barred from consideration as moderators, McDaniel argued.
The chairwoman requested a response from the commission by July 31.
“Our sincere hope is that the CPD accepts this criticism and works to correct its mistakes,” McDaniel wrote. “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.”
The commission was attacked by both parties last year for different reasons. Democrats excoriated moderator Chris Wallace and the commission for the chaos of the first debate, which saw Trump interrupt Biden at least 128 times. The commission agreed to mute both candidates’ mics for future debates, prompting backlash from Trump and Republicans.
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