REPORT: Fox News Won't Issue 'Spin Room' Credentials to Trump Surrogates for First GOP Debate

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

The Republican National Committee is less than two days away from its first-of-the-cycle party primary debate, and it's still not clear who will be on the stage or even who will be in attendance.

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As my colleague Bonchie pointed out earlier, we've got candidates who are claiming they've made the debate stage and the RNC does not have an official list or anything. Maybe Asa Hutchinson does make the debate stage, but we just don't know.

Then, there's the fact that the RNC was allegedly going to allow Trump's surrogates to attend, and reports that Ronna McDaniel herself invited Rep. Byron Daniels.

If a candidate doesn't want to show up for a debate, they have the right. The expectation would then be that said candidate would not be represented on pre and post-debate panels in the spin room. Instead, it's being reported that Trump surrogates Kari Lake, Rep. Byron Donalds, and Rep. Matt Gaetz, who are attending the debate, are angling to be in the spin room to represent him. It's also been reported that McDaniel personally invited Rep. Byron Donalds to stand in for Trump in the spin room, and that she's also got Donald Trump Jr. attending.

Even if one believes Trump is the greatest candidate to ever walk the earth and should be handed the nomination on a silver platter, that's just a bad way to run things. If a candidate doesn't bother to show up, then they should be treated as if they didn't show up. Instead, the RNC appears to be doing its best to accommodate the frontrunner outside the bounds of what most would consider fair.

Well, it appears that Fox News is none-too-pleased about this, as they have told the Trump team his surrogates will not be allowed.

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CNN political reporter Alayna Treene also reported that members of the Trump team and his surrogates still plan on traveling to Milwaukee. What's more, they are apparently working on negotiating with the network.

"The former president's aides also believe they will be able to find new credentials, one of the advisers said," she also reported on Twitter, "and are confident they will be in the spin room on Wednesday."

What this means is that Fox News is not planning to allow Trump's surrogates into the Spin Room, though some of those surrogates will be credentialed through other media groups. So they might be there, but not be allowed to be part of Fox's event and coverage. 

Part of this is Fox News being smarter than the RNC (clearly), but there is another aspect of this to consider: Trump is planning to compete with Fox News, and plans to do so through Tucker Carlson. So Fox has less than zero incentive to grant an absentee candidate's surrogates access when that candidate himself is trying to compete against the event.

Really seems kind of bone-headed on the Trump team's part to expect Fox would be happy about it. Also seems really bone-headed of the RNC's leadership to expect Fox would be happy about it.

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Boy, this is gonna be great, isn't it?

UPDATED 3:00 AM EDT, August 22: CNN reporter Alayna Treene deleted her original tweet stating that Fox News wasn't going to allow Trump surrogates to attend the debate itself, to clarify that while the RNC controls the debate guest list, Fox News controls Spin Room credentials.


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