The Republican National Committee had been warning for months about no longer participating in the presidential debates organized by the commission that's held them since 1988. Spurred on by former President Donald Trump, Republicans have picked up their criticism of the Commission on Presidential Debates as biased toward Democrats, and their leaders have told candidates to stay out of the events in future races. The RNC voted Thursday to withdraw from the nonprofit commission, the Hill reports.
"We are going to find newer, better debate platforms to ensure that future nominees are not forced to go through the biased CPD in order to make their case to the American people," Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement. The nonprofit organization was set up by both parties, per CNN. McDaniel said the commission hasn't enacted the "simple and commonsense reforms" her party wants, including holding the debates before any voting takes place and using moderators who haven't worked for any of the participants.
Like Trump, McDaniel wants the RNC to have more to say about which journalists are chosen for the debates; C-SPAN's Steve Scully, who had worked for Democratic nominee Joe Biden decades earlier, was picked as a moderator in 2020. Trump also complained in 2020 about the second debate being held virtually because of the pandemic, and the muting of his microphone when it wasn't his turn to talk—a decision made in response to his interruptions in the first debate. Democrats have had complaints about the debate process over the years, as well, but are not now urging any changes. (Read more Commission on Presidential Debates stories.)