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Key Words: RNC withdraws from ‘biased’ Commission on Presidential Debates to find ‘newer, better debate platforms’

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By unanimous vote, the Republican National Committee is withdrawing from the Commission on Presidential Debates over allegations that the organization that has been sponsoring the general-election debates since 1988 is “biased.” 

“Today, the RNC voted to withdraw from the biased CPD,” RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel tweeted.

“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.”

The Commission on Presidential Debates is a nonprofit established in 1987 under the joint sponsorship of the Republican and Democratic parties in the U. S. Its mission has been “to ensure, for the benefit of the American electorate, that general election debates between or among the leading candidates for the offices of President and Vice President of the United States are a permanent part of the electoral process.” And the CPD has been producing the general election debates every four years ever since, which has included research and educational activities relating to the debates.

But former President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign complained about many of the CPD’s decisions during the 2020 election, including: the moderators selected; deciding to hold the second debate virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic; and muting microphones during the final debate that year to prevent one candidate from talking over another. 

So the GOP has been threatening to break away from the commission for several months now. In January, for example, there were reports that the RNC planned  to require presidential candidates seeking the party’s nomination to sign a pledge saying they wouldn’t take part in any debates sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

RNC chairwoman McDaniel’s statement on Thursday also criticized the commission for not enacting “simple and commonsense 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.” 

Here’s her statement in full: 

“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 commonsense 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. 

“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.” 

This “presidential debates,” “The RNC” and “Commission” to trend on Twitter on Thursday afternoon.

“The GOP is not walking away from debates,” the Republican Party’s official Twitter account posted. “We are walking away from the Commission on Presidential Debates.”

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