Republican National Committee Pulls Out Of February Presidential Debate Over CNBC Performance

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades
Reince PriebusReince Priebus

Most reviews of CNBC’s handling of the third Republican debate were derisive at best, and the debacle has led the Republican National Committee (RNC) to pull out of February’s presidential debate, which was due to air on NBC.

In a letter from RNC chairman Reince Priebus to the chairman of NBC News, Andrew Lack, Priebus cited the performance of CNBC’s moderators for the shift away from NBC.

“CNBC’s moderators engaged in a series of 'gotcha' questions, petty and mean-spirited in tone, and designed to embarrass our candidates,” he wrote. “What took place Wednesday night was not an attempt to give the American people a greater understanding of our candidates’ policies and ideas.

“I have tremendous respect for the First Amendment and freedom of the press. However, I also expect the media to host a substantive debate on consequential issues important to Americans. CNBC did not.”

Priebus said the committee will continue to work with National Review, its partner in the event, but it’s unclear whether Telemundo, the sole Spanish-language media company hosting a Republican debate, would be included going forward, The Washington post reports.

Several campaigns, including that of Donald Trump and Rand Paul, endorsed the letter.

However, not everyone in the Republican party is satisfied.

“This doesn’t solve the problem,” former RNC chairman Michael Steele told The Hill.

“They’re trying to appease the candidates who are already pissed off at the process they created,” he added. "What they’ve got to do is look forward and determine the style of debate they want and who is going to be up there for it, rather than just reacting to what happened with CNBC, which was abhorrent."

Sources: The Hill, The Washington Post, Republican National Committee / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons