The Republican Party is so upset with the performance of CNBC moderators during Wednesday night’s Republican Party debate that Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus has suspended an upcoming debate in February that was supposed to be moderated by NBC News.
In a letter addressed to NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack, Priebus wrote that the CNBC debate was, “conducted in bad faith,” and that the campaigns vying for the Republican nomination were so upset by the network’s performance that, “We simply cannot continue with [the planned NBC debate without full consultation with our campaigns.”
As Fortune editor Alan Murray wrote in his review of the debate, Senator Ted Cruz was applauded for using some of his response time to attack “the CNBC moderators for biased questioning – a sentiment the other candidates, the audience, and virtually everyone on Twitter who wasn’t in the employ of a Democrat seemed to agree with.”
Priebus agreed with this assessment, writing:
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.
But a report Friday in Politico suggests that some Republican campaigns are equally angry with Reince Priebus and the RNC as they are with CNBC moderators. “Republican presidential campaigns are planning to gather in Washington, D.C., on Sunday evening to plot how to alter their party’s messy debate process — and how to remove power from the hands of the Republican National Committee, according to the report.
Update: NBC issued a response to the GOP
This is a disappointing development. However, along with our debate broadcast partners at Telemundo we will work in good faith to resolve this matter with the Republican Party.