The Republican National Committee pulled out of the bipartisan presidential debate commission on Thursday, putting in doubt the future of closely watched clashes between major party candidates in 2024 and beyond.
The GOP group unanimously voted to withdraw from the Commission on Presidential Debates, the impartial nonprofit group that has organized the debates for decades.
“The Commission on Presidential Debates is biased and has refused to enact simple and commonsense reforms to help ensure fair debates,” said Ronna McDaniel, the RNC’s chairwoman.
The RNC chief said the commission has refused to consider moving up the debates to before early voting starts and selects moderators that are slanted against Republican candidates.
The group will demand that Republican presidential candidates pledge to only participate in debates that have the GOP’s imprimatur.
The commission has been under fire from Republicans since the 2020 debates, which then-President Trump slammed as biased against him.
In the first and most widely watched debate against then-candidate Joe Biden, Trump failed to disclose a positive COVID test from three days earlier and refused to submit to supposedly mandatory testing on the day of the debate.
Appearing angry and unwell, Trump ignored the debate rules, repeatedly interrupted Biden and constantly sniped at Fox News moderator Chris Wallace.
He was diagnosed with COVID-19 a couple of days later, raising the likelihood that he was infectious during the debate.
Trump withdrew from the second planned debate after the commission moved to hold it virtually instead of in-person as he preferred.
The nonprofit commission is run by members of both parties and was founded in 1987 to ensure a fair process for organizing debates between the main White House candidates.
The commission did not immediately comment on the RNC decision but said earlier it remained committed to creating a nonpartisan platform to help the American people decide between the candidates.
“The CPD’s plans for 2024 will be based on fairness, neutrality and a firm commitment to help the American public learn about the candidates and the issues,” the statement said.