In the latest fallout from Wednesday’s contentious GOP presidential debate, the Republican National Committee has suspended its partnership with NBC News, potentially pulling the plug on NBC’s planned participation in a primary debate scheduled for Feb. 26, 2016, at the University of Houston.
A number of GOP candidates expressed displeasure with CNBC’s handling of the event, both during and after the debate. The Washington Post reports that some of the contenders took their dissatisfaction to the party’s National Committee, complaining that CNBC had conducted the debate in “bad faith.”
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus posted an open letter to NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack on the committee’s website, which you can read in full by clicking here. In the letter, he wrote: “The RNC’s sole role in the primary debate process is to ensure that our candidates are given a full and fair opportunity to lay out their vision for America’s future. We simply cannot continue with NBC without full consultation with our campaigns.”
NBC responded to the decision with a statement calling the action “disappointing.” The network added: “However, along with our debate broadcast partners at Telemundo we will work in good faith to resolve this matter with the Republican Party,”
The Post report quotes Sergio Gor, a spokesman for Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), offering praise for the RNC action. Said Gor: “We hope networks and future moderators realize that what happened in Colorado should never have occurred.”
Preibus adds in his letter to NBC News: “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.”