Not up for Debate: The RNC Votes Unanimously to Withdraw From the Commission on Presidential Debates

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

The Republican National Committee’s (RNC) unrest with the Commission on Presidential Debates has been brewing for the past few presidential election cycles now. It came to a head in 2020 with the messy presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden, moderated railroaded by Chris Wallace. Not to mention the commission shifting the rules to suddenly incorporate a virtual debate against Trump’s wishes because, COVID!


The RNC took far too long in doing this. They should have voted to withdraw after the CNN Candy Crowley/Mitt Romney 2012 debate debacle.

Crowley still owes Romney an apology; not that he deserves one at this point.

From NBC News:

The Republican National Committee on Thursday announced it unanimously voted to require GOP presidential candidates to abstain from presidential debates sanctioned by the Commission on Presidential Debates, which has overseen the process for decades.

“Debates are an important part of the democratic process, and the RNC is committed to free and fair debates,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement. “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.”

She added that the RNC will “find newer, better debate platforms” for Republican candidates to make their case.

The RNC will require Republican presidential candidates to sign a pledge that they will only appear at party-sanctioned primary and general election debates, an RNC official confirmed. The requirement was first reported by The Wall Street Journal reported.

Ultimately, decisions on debate participation are up to the party’s nominee and not the party itself.


Republican nominees have often cried foul over the bias existent in the commission, including former President Donald J. Trump. So, the fact that the RNC is now kicking the commission to the curb is no big surprise. Legacy media has been slipping into irrelevancy for years, hastened further by their collusion with the Democrats and government in pushing pandemic lies. Why watch a debate on a channel you do not trust with moderators whom you cannot stand? Free of the formalities of this commission, any presidential candidate can simply go on Joe Rogan’s podcast or Bill Maher’s HBO show Real Time, reach way more people, and be done with it.

In January, the RNC wrote a letter to the Commission asking them to commit to certain parameters:

  • To hold a debate before the start of early voting.
  • To not hold any matchups after the deadline for mailing absentee ballots to military personnel and overseas voters.
  • To enact term limits for the commission board members.
  • To ban partisan political activity by officials and staffers of the commission.

Former Missouri Sen. John Danforth is the poster child for these last two points. A so-called Republican, in 2020 Danforth famously took to The Washington Post, CNN, and other outlets to denounce then-sitting president Donald Trump and decry that he was not a Republican.

Danforth has been on the Commission on Presidential Debates for 26 years.

The RNC further requested the commission make its moderator selection process more transparent and adopt a code of conduct for them to adhere to. Chris Wallace would be hardest hit.


The RNC concluded their letter by saying that if the commission did not conform to these requests, it would pull out of its sanctioned debates.

Essentially, the commission told the RNC to pound sand. Thus, here we are.

I made this prediction back in October of 2020:

Bottom line: No matter what may occur tonight, or who wins the election, suffice to say this geriatric and outdated Commission on Presidential Debates is done. They have shown themselves to be partisan, unprepared, out of touch, and obsolete. John Danforth, one of those geriatric members of the Commission, and a Republican, took to print and the airwaves to rebuke Trump for his criticism of their methods, to emphasize how important this Commission is to the national conversation, and to let you know what an august and truly bipartisan body they are. Yeah… right.

Put them on the list of things that Trump broke.

We’ll see how this plays out with Democrat, Libertarian, and Independent candidates talking amongst themselves.


Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on RedState Videos