Ronna McDaniel said GOP candidates will not participate in commission debates going forward

 January 24, 2023

RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said Monday that venues wanting to apply to host Commission on Presidential Debates should not waste their time because the RNC plans to ban candidates from participating in those debates due to excessive bias.

"NEWSFLASH for organizations considering applying to the Commission on Presidential Debates in response to their request for proposals: Don’t waste your time," she tweeted. "The GOP nominee will not be participating in any debate put on by the biased and flawed CPD."

The RNC voted unanimously in April to withdraw from the commission and said it planned to seek alternatives that would not be biased. The commission typically handles debates once each party has a nominee.

Biased debate format and hosts

McDaniel sent a letter to the debate commission earlier this month, noting the specific concerns and changes the RNC would require before any further debates could happen.

Some of the changes McDaniel seeks include banning debates after early voting has begun, notifying candidates of changes to previously agreed-upon rules, barring moderators who have a conflict of interest with a candidate, and keeping the commission strictly nonpartisan and board members from disparaging candidates.

If the debate commission does not agree to the changes, McDaniel plans to introduce a rules change at the winter RNC meeting that will prohibit presidential candidates from participating in the debates until changes are agreed to.

Previous debates have mostly been hosted by left-wing pundits, and in 2016, Hillary Clinton got questions ahead of time for a CNN town hall debate hosted by Donna Brazile.

The RNC has finally had enough, and looks to put its foot down to prevent future debates that will only skew voters toward Democrat candidates.

"Common sense solutions"

The letter from McDaniel alluded to ongoing negotiations since June, as well as the RNC's dissatisfaction with the commission's response so far.

"These proposals are common sense solutions for an organization whose unique, nonpartisan role in American elections requires it to stand above the political fray," the letter said. "Indeed, we believe that most neutral observers would be shocked to learn that these overdue reforms are not already CPD policy."

This policy could change if McDaniel doesn't keep her seat as RNC chairwoman.

She is facing a challenge from Harmeet Dhillon next week to determine who the next chairperson will be.

It is not clear whether the RNC under Dhillon would still seek alternatives to using the debate commission.

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