Former President Donald Trump has taken issue with the Presidential Debate Commission over the past two elections. It was reported in January that the Republican Party may tell its candidates to commit to withdrawing from the debates.

"Republican committee officials alerted the debate commission to their plans in a letter sent on Thursday, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times," wrote Maggie Haberman. "If the change goes forward, it would be one of the most substantial shifts in how presidential and vice-presidential debates have been conducted since the commission began organizing debates more than 30 years ago."

It isn't likely to happen as the one thing politicians fight for is footage on television.

"The nonprofit commission, founded by the two parties in 1987 to codify the debates as a permanent part of presidential elections, describes itself as nonpartisan. But Republicans have complained for nearly a decade that its processes favor the Democrats, mirroring increasing rancor from conservatives toward Washington-based institutions," said Haberman.

In his new book, Insurgency, New York Times reporter Jeremy Peters explained that Trump has a long-standing beef with one of the members of the commission.

"By coincidence, Trump had a decades-long beef with one of the debate commission co-chairs, Frank Fahrenkopf, the former chief executive of the American Gaming Association. Fahrenkopf had accused Trump of failing to pay his dues to the association," Peters wrote. And Trump, whose properties once included casinos in Atlantic City, complained that Fahrenkopf had it out for him because he was, in Trump’s judgment, 'a Vegas guy,'" the book says.

Fahrenkopf, a former Republican official, told ABC News that when he spoke to the RNC he tried to explain that he doesn't work for parties.

"They just want to take over everything and we told them that we don't deal with the political parties, we never have," Fahrenkopf said. "We have nothing to do with the Republican, Democratic party or any other political party. We work only with those candidates for president and vice president who meet the requirements that we put out a year or so ahead of time."

The Los Angeles Times thinks the RNC is trying to placate Trump.

Their 2024 "demands, including 'a code of conduct' for debate moderators, seem aimed more at soothing Trump’s fragile ego than addressing any real problem. Sort of like legislative efforts to stamp out phantom voter fraud, or address the 'rigged' 2020 election," said the report.

Peters' book Insurgency is on sale now.


Trump's 'beef' with the Debate Commission might come from an old Casino foe