The Republican National Convention (RNC) has announced that it will no longer be allowing its candidates to participate in presidential debates, and the Alabama Republican Party (ALGOP) supports that decision because of what many call a "flawed system."

There were two presidential debates in the 2020 election in which Joe Biden unseated then-president Donald J. Trump. The first was moderated by Chris Wallace, formerly of Fox News. Kristen Welker of NBC News moderated the second. 

The first debate on Sept. 29, 2020, received a mountain of criticism, with many claiming that Wallace displayed significant bias against the incumbent Trump. Trump himself noted this during the debate by asserting, in a tongue-in-cheek manner, that he was functionally debating Wallace and not Joe Biden. 

Currently, presidential debates are organized by the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). The CPD organizes the debates and chooses the venue, debate format and moderator. 

The decision by the RNC to remove its candidate from any future CPD debates would effectively end presidential debates unless opposing sides can reach some resolution.

John Wahl, the Chairman of the ALGOP, attended the meeting of the RNC and spoke to 1819 News hours after the RNC unanimously voted in favor of the proposition. According to Wahl, many members of the ALGOP were present and voted in favor of the motion. 

“The Alabama Delegation all voted in favor,” Wahl said. "We were part of that process and voted to make that decision.

“There will not be a debate. Unless something changes, at this point, we are not going to have the Republican nominee participate in the debate process as currently laid out by this flawed system. “

The so-called biased during debates has been a subject of concern online. After that September 2020 debate, actor James Woods tweeted his displeasure at Wallace’s moderating the night of the debate, as did conservative commentator Ben Shapiro.

Chris Wallace is shamelessly biased. It’s a beautiful demonstration of fake news in action. I’m actually glad it’s happening, because you can see it for yourself.

— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) September 30, 2020

Chris Wallace, over the course of the night, has moved from moderator to debater.

— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) September 30, 2020

Wahl claimed the current debate system is not conducive to a free and fair exchange of ideas that a debate is supposed to display, especially when he feels the Democratic party is allowed to control much of the debate structure. He also highly criticized the CPD, claiming it has repeatedly refused to listen to or follow any of the input from the GOP.

“The Republican party would love to have open and fair debates; we think that’s incredibly important for the people: to hear directly from the candidates,” Wahl said. "As Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, I hope we can find a resolution. But we are not going to agree to participate in a system that penalizes the Republican nominee and allows for a process that is clearly abused by the left.”

According to the CPD website, since 1989, no sitting officer of either major party has had any affiliation with the CPD. And the major parties have no role in running the CPD or setting its policies.

The CPD also claims that they are not funded by any government, political party, or political action committee; they receive funding from donors. The CPD claims that donors have no input into the management of any of the CPD’s activities and have no input into the process by which they select debate participants.

Wahl claims that the CPD intentionally places biased moderators in the debates, effectively removing the ability of the Republican nominee to engage in appropriate discussion. 

“The committee is made up of different memberships, but they kind of set the guidelines, and their choices are obviously biased," said Wahl. "You had moderators who had warped or Democratic perspectives. You had openly left-wing news commentators as moderators. Debate moderators should be able to hear both sides and not have a bias going into the debate.”

Wahl said that the RNC is open to resolving their issues with the CPD, but they would not give a “leftist-controlled system” the ability to bully the GOP nominee. He further suggested non-partisan adjustments to moderator selection, such as having multiple moderators or selecting moderators without a blatant agenda, could be a practical compromise. 

“We would love to find a resolution to this problem,” Wahl said. “But we are not going to compromise on the idea of having a fair, open and honest debate for all participants.”

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email