The Republican National Committee (RNC) stepped in Monday night to prevent former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy from participating in a discussion on Fox News Tuesday night that would allow voters to learn more about the policy platforms of the two GOP presidential candidates.
A person with knowledge of the discussions between the RNC and the two presidential candidates told Politico that the RNC threatened both Ramaswamy and Christie that they would not be allowed to participate in future debates sponsored by the RNC if they chose to debate each other during a joint appearance on Fox News.
The RNC’s warning to Ramaswamy and Christie resulted in a major change to the pair’s planned joint appearance on Fox News. Instead of featuring a debate between the two candidates, Fox News will hold back-to-back interviews with Christie and Ramaswamy.
According to a person with inside knowledge of the decision, the RNC reportedly approved of the change for Tuesday’s event.
Instead of allowing GOP candidates to debate policies with one another, the RNC has prohibited candidates from participating in any GOP primary debates that are not expressly sanctioned by the committee.
However, Politico reported that the RNC has not prohibited Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis from scheduling a debate with California Gov. Gavin Newsom since the debate would not be between GOP primary candidates.
The RNC’s decision to put a stop to Tuesday’s debate between Christie and Ramaswamy came after the two presidential candidates announced their joint appearance on social media.
“The GOP needs more actual argument on substance, not fake one-liners,” Ramaswamy tweeted. “I agreed to spar with @ChrisChristie tomorrow for a full hour on Fox at 6pm with @BretBaier.”
Sharing his own announcement post on X, Christie said voters “deserve to hear from the candidates.”
Taking an apparent jab at former President Donald Trump, Christie said, “Unlike others, I’m not afraid to show up.” The former New Jersey governor added, “This is going to be fun.”
In response to the RNC’s interference with Tuesday’s debate, Christie blasted the committee in a lengthy post on X, stating, “Voters need more information, not less. Our Party needs more debates and in-depth discussions, not less. This is common sense and the bedrock of our Republic. When the RNC stops conversations between candidates from happening, that is real cause for concern.”
Christie claimed that one of the main points of agreement between himself and Ramaswamy is the “right of the American public” to know what each of the presidential candidates stands for “with as little filter as possible.” The former New Jersey governor added that he appreciated Ramaswamy for being willing to “engage in that conversation.”
“It is very disappointing that we were threatened with exclusion from the Miami debate and future debates for trying to have a more complete dialogue with each other and the voters,” Christie continued. “Every campaign was offered that opportunity by Fox News, and they have now been effectively banned by the RNC. I am always up for those discussions – it’s a shame the RNC and @realDonaldTrump aren’t.”
Ramaswamy also blasted the RNC’s Monday night intervention. The entrepreneur labeled last week’s second GOP debate “a disgrace,” claiming that he is “starting to believe that was by design.”
“This is what a brokered and rigged nomination process looks like,” Ramaswamy stated. “I disagree like hell with @GovChristie, but when they asked me to face off with him, I said I’d be a man and do it – before the RNC intervened to cut it off.”
Ramaswamy claimed that instead of allowing voters to hear directly from political candidates, the Republican establishment would “rather cut backroom deals and offer up phony debates.” He criticized the RNC for including candidates in the debates who have “no viable path” for election and asking questions that voters are not interested in.
“The Establishment was hellbent on taking down Trump. Now they’re hellbent on propping up their favored puppets,” Ramaswamy added. “We won’t let them get away with it. It’s pathetic that the Super PAC puppet masters have now ‘summoned’ their favored Establishment puppets to broker a path to defeating Trump instead of allowing GOP voters to make a real choice on their own by hearing directly from candidates. Republican voters deserve better than this broken process.”