- Former Republican Sen. Bob Dole, the 1996 GOP presidential nominee, said that he’s “concerned” about anti-Trump sentiment among members on the Commission on Presidential Debates.
- On Twitter, Dole suggested the commission was “biased” and might not treat Trump fairly.
- The commission usually works behind the scenes, but the Oct. 15 presidential debate was thrown into turmoil by President Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis.
- Trump rejected the offer of a virtual second debate, leading the commission to cancel the planned Oct. 15 debate altogether.
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Former Republican Senator Bob Dole said that he’s “concerned” about anti-Trump sentiment among members on the Commission on Presidential Debates, the nonpartisan organization that manages the debates during each presidential year.
Dole, who served in the Senate from 1969 to 1996 and was the 1996 GOP presidential nominee, tweeted that he was friends with Republicans on the committee, but wanted impartiality towards Trump.
“The Commission on Presidential Debates is supposedly bipartisan w/ an equal number of Rs and Ds,” said Dole. “I know all of the Republicans and most are friends of mine. I am concerned that none of them support Donald Trump. A biased Debate Commission is unfair.”
—Senator Bob Dole (@SenatorDole) October 9, 2020
The commission usually works behind the scenes and is rarely a hot topic among the general public, but this year, the presidential debates were thrown into turmoil by President Trump, who flouted the debate rules during the first faceoff in Cleveland with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
In response to Trump contracting the coronavirus last Friday, along with general concerns about others possibly contracting the disease at the event, the commission changed the format of the October 15 presidential debate from an in-person to a virtual debate, which led Trump to pull out altogether.
“I’m not going to waste my time on a virtual debate — that’s not what debating is all about,” Trump said to Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo on Thursday. “You sit behind a computer and do a debate. It’s ridiculous.”
Trump insisted on an in-person debate and the commission denied the request on Friday, canceling the second presidential debate which was originally set to be held in Miami.
Bill Stepien, Trump’s campaign manager, accused the commission of coming to Biden’s “defense by unilaterally canceling an in-person debate” and called the decision “pathetic.”
Shortly before the commission scrapped the debate on Friday, Frank Fahrenkopf, a co-chair of the commission, appeared on Fox News and said there was “no evidence whatsoever” that Trump had tested negative for the virus and insisted that a virtual debate would have been the “safest way to go.”