DeSantis Shreds RNC Over Threat to Ban Candidates From Future Debates
Governor and presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis blasted the Republican National Committee (RNC) on Saturday after it threatened to bar candidates from future debates if they attend an upcoming forum in Iowa.
DeSantis accused the RNC of doing the “bidding” of primary frontrunner and former President Donald Trump by issuing its threat to candidates. Just hours after DeSantis made his comments, however, the RNC reportedly reached an agreement with the event organizers, allowing the candidates to attend The Family Leader’s ‘Thanksgiving Family Forum.’
The RNC initially threatened the GOP candidates in an Oct. 28 letter.
“It has come to the attention of the RNC Counsel’s Office that several Republican presidential candidates have been invited to participate in an open-press event in Iowa in November at which they would ‘gather around the table to have a moderated, friendly, and open discussion about the issues.’ In other words, a debate,” the RNC Counsel’s Office wrote.
“As a reminder, in accordance with RNC Rule 10(a)(11), each Republican presidential candidate participating in RNC-sanctioned primary debates has signed a pledge stating, in relevant part, that ‘if I participate in any debate that has not been sanctioned by the Republican National Committee, I will not be eligible to participate in any further Republican National Committee sanctioned debates,'”
The letter, which was published by Fox News, had warned that candidates who attend the forum “will be deemed to have violated this pledge and will be disqualified from taking part in any future RNC-sanctioned presidential primary debates.”
I'm going to be there at The Family Leader. I think it's an important part of this process.
There’s no way that should cause the RNC to penalize any candidate.
I'll be here no matter what happens. pic.twitter.com/ItLfjAPoBJ
— Ron DeSantis (@RonDeSantis) November 11, 2023
Vivek Ramaswamy, Nikki Haley, and Tim Scott are expected to attend the forum, in addition to Governor DeSantis.
On Saturday, DeSantis confirmed that he would attend, and criticized the RNC for their threat.
“I’m going to be there at The Family Leader. I think it’s an important part of this process,” DeSantis said in a post on X. “There’s no way that should cause the RNC to penalize any candidate. I’ll be here no matter what happens.”
The event’s primary organizer, Bob Vander Plaats, is seen as a significant endorsement in Iowa that the GOP candidates are seeking. Vander Plaats is also a vocal critic of former President Trump–something DeSantis says was a factor in the RNC’s initial decision,
“Bob Vander Plaats is someone that’s been very outspoken, that Donald Trump is not the way forward for the party. And because of that, I think there’s been pressure from Trump’s camp on the RNC to try to do something to stop it,” DeSantis told reporters on Saturday. “But if I have an opportunity to speak to Iowans about issues that matter to them, I’m going to show up.”
DeSantis also questioned why the RNC would “be doing the bidding of somebody who not only didn’t show up to the last debate, but counter programed a rally.”
“I’ll be there one way or another, we’re going to be there spreading the message, answering the questions,”
The RNC and I have agreed on the format of @TheFamilyLeader November 17 Thanksgiving FAMiLY Forum. The Forum is NOT a debate. Thus, the RNC is giving a thumbs up for candidates to participate. Thanks to the RNC for facilitating a win/win for the process. #ChooseWell2024
— Bob Vander Plaats (@bobvanderplaats) November 11, 2023
Following DeSantis’s comments, Vander Plaats announced that he had arrived an agreement with the RNC to allow candidates at the forum.
“The Forum is NOT a debate,” Vander Plaats said in a post on X. “Thus, the RNC is giving a thumbs up for candidates to participate. Thanks to the RNC for facilitating a win/win for the process.”
The Thanksgiving Family Forum will be held in Des Moines on November 17.
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- DeSantis Ramps Up Attacks On Haley Ahead of Final GOP Debate - December 6, 2023