The Republican National Committee may avoid major television networks if presidential debates aren’t reformed substantially by 2024, David Bossie, president of Citizens United, said Friday, according to a report.
Republicans have repeatedly claimed that the debate process and some debate moderators are biased against conservatives.
“We don’t need to count on just the networks,” Bossie told Hugh Hewitt on his radio show, Politico reported. “There are so many opportunities out there, so many platforms out there that we can go to and partner with to get the message out.”
Bossie accused some debate moderators of using the opportunity to try to make a name for themselves rather than highlight the candidates.
“They’re asking questions really not to impact primary Republican voters, but to have ‘gotcha’ questions and answers for the general election debate, because they all want to see their question and answer played during the general election,” he said speaking specifically of the primary debates, which the major parties generally conduct in partnership with a major network. Fox News and Fox Business have both hosted debates.
He added, “We have to not allow bad actors to infiltrate our debate process.”
Bossie is leading the issue for Republicans, according to Yahoo.
Earlier this month, RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel wrote a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates, which oversees the general election debates, warning that the party may advise the next GOP presidential nominee to skip them unless significant changes are made.
“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,” McDaniel wrote. “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.”
Former President Trump has frequently spoken out against the debate process, having called the CPD “rigged” first in 2016. He also skipped a Republican primary debate that year, choosing to hold an event for veterans instead.
In 2020, Republicans complained about the commission’s decision to allow the muting of microphones after overtalking became an issue in Trump and then-Democratic candidate Joe Biden’s first debate, which was moderated by Fox News’ Chris Wallace.
Trump decided to skip the second debate that turned virtual after he contracted the coronavirus. It was then canceled and he and Biden ended up doing separate town halls with NBC and ABC, respectively, once he recovered.
Conservatives have also pointed to C-SPAN journalist Mike Scully’s perceived bias after he was caught sending and subsequently lying about an arguably anti-Trump tweet in which he asked former Trump aide Anthony Scaramucci if he should respond to a critical remark Trump made about him. Scully was suspended and returned to work in January.
Trump and Biden returned for a final debate, moderated by NBC’s Kristen Welker, without any serious hiccups.
The commission has overseen the general election debates since 1988, according to Politico.
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