"The Commission on Presidential Debates is biased and has refused to enact simple and commonsense reforms to help ensure fair debates, including hosting debates before voting begins and selecting moderators who have never worked for candidates on the debate stage," RNC chair Ronna McDaniel said in a press release.
The GOP has long complained that the CPD, which self-identifies as nonpartisan, favors Democrats, Axios reports. And back in January, the RNC warned the CPD it would pull GOP candidates from future presidential debates unless "meaningful reforms" were made.
Well "[t]oday, the RNC voted to withdraw from the biased CPD," McDaniel continued in her statement, and the committee will now seek out "newer, better debate platforms" for future nominees.
In the wake of Thursday's vote, Republican presidential candidates will now be required to confirm for the RNC in writing they will only appear at "party-sanctioned primary and general election debates," The Wall Street Journal reports. The committee plans to form a working group to sanction debates based on feedback and criteria including things "timing, frequency, format, media outlet, candidate qualifications," and party interests, the Journal writes.
That said, the degree to which the RNC can enforce its decision is currently unclear, considering debate participation is ultimately up to the nominee.