Donald Trump will no longer discuss his requirements for future GOP debates with his fellow Republican presidential candidates but will speak only with network executives, his campaign said Nov. 2.
The announcement came just hours after his and other campaigns collaborated to draft a three page letter of demands that Trump ultimately rejected, in the wake of what most candidates agreed was an upsetting debate hosted by CNBC on Oct. 28, reports the Washington Post.
“As we have for the previous three debates, the Trump Campaign will continue to negotiate directly with the host network to establish debate criteria that will determine Mr. Trump’s participation," Trump's spokesperson said in a statement, according to Breitbart. "This is no different than the process that occurred prior to the Fox, CNN, and CNBC debates."
Network executives are furious.
“We agreed to this [format months ago] and now you’re saying you’re not agreeing?” one executive, who requested to remain anonymous, told the Washington Post.
Another executive pointed out the inherent bias of letting one or more candidates dictate the format.
“Do you want Ben Carson deciding who your moderators are?" they said. "The answer is no. Do you want Bobby Jindal’s campaign dictating how the debates will be run when Bobby Jindal may not even be in the race much longer?”
After the candidates reached breaking point, the Republican National Committee attempted to appease them by suspending NBC from hosting the Feb. 26 debate and replacing RNC spokesman Sean Spicer, who had been in charge of coordinating the events.
“These debates have always been about the candidates,” Spicer said. “The candidates will be and always should be determining the best format for them.”
Trump established that he is willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that the debate formats are to his liking when he teamed up with fellow GOP candidate Ben Carson to demand that the most recent Republican debate format shortened from its original 3 hours, notes Fortune.
“Mr. Trump and Dr. Carson do not, and will not, agree to appear at a debate that is more than 120 minutes long including commercial breaks,” the two candidates’ campaigns said in a joint statement.