Candidates Upset Over Debate Criteria Set by CNBC – Trump Threatens to Boycott

Candidates Upset Over Debate Criteria Set by CNBC – Trump Threatens to Boycott

I don’t blame the candidates for putting their collective foot down. Donald Trump is threatening to boycott the next CNBC debate if the criteria for it is not approved by the candidates. He just won’t show up. Let’s see what that does to their ratings. It’s not just Trump either. Carson, Paul, Cruz and Huckabee are all unhappy with the same criteria that was decreed. They want opening and closing statements so they can summarize their positions. That seems like a reasonable request to me. They also want a set length to the debate. The last one went almost three grueling hours.

Trump Debate

From The New York Times:

An aide to Donald J. Trump has raised the possibility of the candidate not attending the next Republican presidential debate unless the criteria set by CNBC is changed, according to two people briefed on a conference call where the matter was discussed on Thursday.

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Several campaigns are unhappy with the criteria that has been set by CNBC, including the lack of opening and closing statements, and, as of now, the lack of a set length of time for the Oct. 28 debate at the Coors Events Center in Boulder, Colo., according to those briefed.

The concerns were aired in an initial conference call held on Wednesday that was reported by Politico. Aides to Ben Carson and Senator Rand Paul expressed unhappiness on that call, as did representatives of other campaigns.

So in a follow-up call held on Thursday, aides to Senator Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee joined in seeking to clarify the rules. And Corey Lewandowski, the campaign manager for Mr. Trump, raised the possibility that the candidate may not attend if the criteria isn’t changed, the people briefed on the call said.

Mr. Lewandowski, in an interview, said: “The criteria that was outlined by CNBC was never discussed with any of the candidates or the campaigns. So what CNBC did was send out a memo and said, ‘Here’s the criteria as you have approved them and that went out to all the campaigns. We said we never agreed to this criteria.’”

He said he had not taken part in the call on Wednesday. But he said that CNBC is supposed to address solutions.

“For us it was imperative that the time be changed to 120 minutes” for the length of the debate, he said. Mr. Trump had been unhappy with the nearly three-hour length of the CNN debate that Republicans recently took part in.

“Until we have this criteria specifically laid out,” he added, “it is difficult to participate.”

He urged the Republican National Committee to no longer count the CNBC event as a sanctioned debate if clarity didn’t come by the end of the day. A spokesman for the R.N.C. did not immediately respond to an email.

The criteria was evidently never sent to the candidates for approval. CNBC just said, ‘here you go… live with it.’ They claimed the candidates had approved the criteria, when none of them had and the candidates are not standing for it. The dissenters are led primarily by Donald Trump who is telling the RNC not to count another CNBC event as a sanctioned debate if they don’t get to approve the criteria. Trump is a master negotiator – if I were CNBC, I’d get that criteria approved and fast, before this blows up. Whether the RNC will listen is anyone’s guess. Trump is the one leading the pack. You’d think they’d listen to him, but RINOs being what they are, I just don’t know. Two hours should be more than long enough for a debate.

Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

Terresa Monroe-Hamilton is an editor and writer for Right Wing News. She owns and blogs at She is a Constitutional Conservative and NoisyRoom focuses on political and national issues of interest to the American public. Terresa is the editor at Trevor Loudon's site, New Zeal - She also does research at You can email Terresa here. NoisyRoom can be found on Facebook and on Twitter.

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