The Republican National Committee announced Friday that it was suspending its partnership with NBC News for an upcoming presidential debate in February as frustration from Wednesday’s CNBC debate reached fever pitch. In a letter to NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said that their relationship for the debate, scheduled for Feb. 26 at the University of Houston, would be suspended “pending further discussion.” The decision comes after GOP candidates complained of media bias during Wednesday’s debate and frustration with the moderators and the questions.
Reince Priebus told NBC News that the network acted in bad faith Wednesday night. Below is an excerpt from the letter:
CNBC billed the debate as one that would focus on “the key issues that matter to all voters—job growth, taxes, technology, retirement and the health of our national economy.” That was not the case. Before the debate, the candidates were promised an opening question on economic or financial matters. That was not the case. Candidates were promised that speaking time would be carefully monitored to ensure fairness. That was not the case. Questions were inaccurate or downright offensive. The first question directed to one of our candidates asked if he was running a comic book version of a presidential campaign, hardly in the spirit of how the debate was billed.
While debates are meant to include tough questions and contrast candidates’ visions and policies for the future of America, CNBC’s moderators engaged in a series of “gotcha” questions, petty and mean-spirited in tone, and designed to embarrass our candidates. What took place Wednesday night was not an attempt to give the American people a greater understanding of our candidates’ policies and ideas.
Marco Rubio’s campaign website is fundraising off of the CNBC debate asking his supporters to ‘take a stand against the liberal media’. Ben Carson, Donald Trump, and Jeb Bush’s campaigns have yet to comment about the letter released Friday to NBC.
Priebus closed his letter by clarifying that the Republican Party will still hold their debate on that scheduled day in February and mentioned the conservative-leaning National Review which was also sponsoring the event would still be part of it.