RNC Will Require Candidates to Sign Pledge Refusing to Participate in Presidential Debates

The Republican National Committee is preparing to require candidates to sign a pledge refusing to participate in debates held by the Commission on Presidential Debates, The New York Times reports.

RNC officials said in a letter to the commission on Thursday that they plan to roll out in the pledge shortly.

The nonpartisan commission was founded by both parties in 1987 and has organized the presidential debates ever since.

Republicans have long complained that the debate rules favor Democrats, complaints that hit a crescendo under former President Donald Trump.

RNC officials have discussed the plan for months, led by former Trump adviser David Bossie, who is overseeing the GOP’s presidential debate committee.

RNC to vote in February:

The plan would have to be voted by the entire RNC during its winter meeting in Salt Lake City in February.

It is unclear what would happen if the plan is approved.

Prior to the creation of the commission, both parties had to negotiate directly on the terms of the debate and agree on the terms.

“So long as the C.P.D. appears intent on stonewalling the meaningful reforms necessary to restore its credibility with the Republican Party as a fair and nonpartisan actor, the R.N.C. will take every step to ensure that future Republican presidential nominees are given that opportunity elsewhere,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel wrote to the commission.

Commission pushes back:

Commission officials have privately complained that RNC leaders have conflated the processes around the primary debates with general election debates. The commission only oversees general election debates.

“The C.P.D. deals directly with candidates for President and Vice President who qualify for participation,” the commission said in a statement. “The C.P.D.’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.”


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