Mr. Romney said that it would be “nuts” for RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel, his niece, to follow through on the threat.
“The American people want to see candidates for president debating issues of consequence to them, and it provides a service to the country and to the people, to hear the prospective candidates of the two major parties duke it out,” Mr. Romney, who was the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, said in an interview with Business Insider.
Mrs. McDaniel fired off a letter Thursday to the Commission on Presidential Debates saying Republican voters have lost faith in the organization and saying it is time to adopt “commonsense reforms that would restore trust in the debates process.”
She said the RNC is concerned about biased debate moderators, the timing of the debates, late-innings changes to debate rules and partisan comments from members of the commission.
“So long as the CPD appears intent on stonewalling the meaningful reforms necessary to restore its credibility with the Republican Party as a fair and nonpartisan actor, the RNC will take every step to ensure that future Republican presidential nominees are given that opportunity elsewhere,” Mrs. McDaniel said. “Accordingly, the RNC will initiate the process of amending the Rules of the Republican Party at our upcoming Winter Meeting to prohibit future Republican nominees from participating in CPD-sponsored debates.”
The RNC will vote on the rule change requiring its candidates to refuse to participate in debates sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates at its winter meeting in Salt Lake City in February, The New York Times reported.
The commission is defending its actions, saying it “deals directly with candidates for President and Vice President who qualify for participation in the CPD’s general election debates.”
“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 commission said.
• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at email@example.com.
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