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Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel says she may advise 2024 presidential candidates not to take part in future debates unless “significant reforms” are made.
In a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates, dated Tuesday and reviewed by The Post, McDaniel laid out the GOP’s grievances with how forums during the 2020 race were conducted.
“The CPD’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 which the law requires and the American people deserve,” the RNC chairwoman began by noting.
“Unless the CPD adopts significant reforms to ensure that it better fulfills this important, nonpartisan function, the RNC will have no choice but to advise its future nominees against participating in CPD-hosted debates.”
Demanded changes include placing term limits on the commission’s board of directors, and barring staff and board members from making public comments — positive or negative — about any candidate.
The letter also requested that the commission commit to hosting at least one debate before the start of early voting in any state and demanded transparency on the selection process for moderators.
President Donald Trump and the GOP took repeated aim at the commission, a nonpartisan group that has organized the debates since 1988, during the 2020 election.
The second debate on Oct. 15 was canceled when the commission changed it to a virtual event, as Trump was recovering from a bout with the coronavirus. The 45th president, who had recovered by then, said he would not take part in the debate if it were held virtually.
And Steve Scully, C-Span’s political director and scheduled moderator of the canceled second debate, was taken off the gig after it was revealed that he had reached out to Anthony Scaramucci, a Trump ally-turned-foe.
Trump and campaign surrogates had argued that Scully was not an acceptable choice, but he was kept on at first.
It was not until it was discovered that he had lied about being hacked on Twitter with regard to the Scaramucci matter that he was pulled from the debate.
The CPD did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment on the letter.
In a statement to The Post, McDaniel argued that the changes were necessary for the upcoming presidential election cycle.
“With the CPD failing in 2020 to host a single debate before the start of early voting, making unilateral changes without informing the candidates, and allowing Members of its Board of Directors to make biased and partisan statements against the Republican nominee, the Republican Party needs assurances that the CPD will make meaningful reforms to the debate process by working with stakeholders to restore the faith and legitimacy it has lost.”
The CPD has until July 31 to respond.
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