RNC Chairman Implores Candidates To Skip Trump Debate

With Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann yet to be heard from, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus is speaking out against the Newsmax/Trump debate and saying candidates should decline to appear:

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus spoke out Thursday against an upcoming GOP presidential debate to be moderated by Donald Trump, saying it would be “malpractice” for him as the leader of the party not to think the debate was problematic.

“We appreciate what Mr. Trump has done, but if you’re still talking about potentially running as an independent candidate, I think that’s a problem,” Priebus said on Fox News. “I think that would be malpractice for me as an RNC chairman to not believe that that is an issue.”

Although Priebus repeated a previously made assertion that it was simply up to the candidates to “do whatever they want to do,” the RNC head repeated that Trump’s continued flirtation with a potential 2012 bid for the White House concerned him.

“I think that having a successful businessman serving as a moderator has a lot of volume. But the issue here is whether the moderator should still be a person who’s still batting around the idea of running as an independent. I think that should give some of these candidates some concern,” he said.

A number of Republican voices have also raised their eyebrows about the debate, including Sen. John McCain and strategist Karl Rove, who recently suggested that Priebus step in and “discourage” the candidates from appearing at the debate.

Priebus is right, of course, but one wonders if Bachmann and Perry will be able to resist the temptation of the additional publicity.


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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Barb Hartwell says:

    I think Trump is really a Democrat and all this crazy nonsense is to point out to people just how crazy the Republican party is.

  2. Ron Beasley says:

    @Barb Hartwell: Trump is a Trumplican – it has nothing to do with party politics and everything to do with selling the Donald Trump brand of snake oil.

  3. LaurenceB says:

    It’s too bad Trump had to open his big mouth and give the Republican Party establishment an excuse to scuttle this freak show.

    I was so looking forward to seeing the deep, intellectual, out-of-the-box thinking that Newt would bring to the subject of PDF files.

    And just imagine the entertainment value of Santorum, Newt and Trump defending Republican Family Values! Well worth the price of admission, in my opinion.