After the Republican National Committee on Thursday threatened the Commission on Presidential Debates that it would "prohibit future GOP nominees from participating in future CPD-sponsored debates" over what the RNC sees as unfairness and bias against Republicans, leftists predictably lashed out.
Who said what?
Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison tweeted that “Republicans can’t win a fair fight and they know it":
Joy Behar — loyal leftist co-host of "The View" — asked in a tweet, "Are they afraid that their candidates can’t keep up?"
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki — when asked for a reaction to the news — quipped that "it's a question best posed to the RNC on what they’re so afraid of":
Veteran Democratic politico Jon Cooper asked, "Who agrees these Republican cowards FEAR THE TRUTH?"
Journalist David Leavitt concluded that GOP candidates "don’t want to answer critical questions":
New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen surmised that the GOP "wants out" of "a common world of fact, about which candidates for president can be questioned":
Columnist Tim O'Brien tweeted that the RNC's move is "another example of Republicans’ antipathy toward public institutions and civic processes leading them to just…walk away. Doesn’t bode well for accountability or transparency":
Comedian Titus attempted to summarize the RNC's stance like so: "Alright guys, our candidates can’t form complete sentences, answer questions or think on their feet, so instead of finding good candidates, let’s refuse to let the morons speak, cool?"
Writer Molly Jong-Fast said the RNC's decision "makes me think the GOP is doubling down on its anti-democratic instincts":
Nick Knudsen, executive director of nonprofit DemCast, echoed Jong-Fast's sentiments: "The GOP is fully withdrawing from democracy":
RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel tweeted in regard to her letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates said that "for years" the organization that's supposed to be nonpartisan "has shown bias against Republicans. Since they continue to stonewall commonsense reforms, the RNC is leveling the playing field to make debates fair for future nominees."
Among the reforms the RNC wants:
- term limits on the CPD's board of directors;
- hold at least one debate prior to the start of early voting;
- create a code of conduct for CPD officials prohibiting them from making public statements about candidates or taking part in political activities with candidates;
- establish criteria for disqualifying debate moderators with conflict of interest regarding candidates; and
- establish a code of conduct for debate moderators in regard to what extent they will interact with nominees.
In the 2020 debates between then-Democratic nominee Joe Biden and then-President Donald Trump, it would seem that the moderators made more headlines than they should have.
In the first debate, moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News asked Trump to condemn "white supremacists and right-wing militia" even though Trump had done so repeatedly and even vowed the week before to designate the Ku Klux Klan as a terrorist organization. However, Wallace didn't ask Biden to condemn Antifa — and Biden, in fact, actually claimed during the debate that the violent leftist group is "an idea, not an organization." Interestingly, Wallace announced last month his departure from Fox News to join CNN.
The CPD tapped Steve Scully — then-political editor for C-SPAN — to moderate the second Trump-Biden debate, but it was soon reported that Scully had served as an intern for then-Sen. Joe Biden in college and later worked on the late Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy's staff. What's more, C-SPAN suspended Scully after he admitted he lied about his Twitter feed being hacked in regard to a question he posted to former Trump aide Anthony Scaramucci after Trump accused Scully of being a "nevertrumper." Soon the second debate was canceled after Trump complained about the format being changed to a virtual event due to the coronavirus pandemic.
And despite a report that the third debate moderator, Kristen Welker — chief White House correspondent for NBC News — has deep ties to the Democratic Party, she won high praise from both sides of the aisle for her job moderating the third debate.