The Republican National Committee wrote in the letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates that its 2024 presidential candidates will not participate in debates run by the CPD unless major changes are made to its liking.

“The RNC has a duty to ensure that its future presidential nominees have the opportunity to debate their opponents on a level playing field,” the letter signed by RNC head Ronna McDaniel said. “So long as the CPD appears intent on stonewalling the meaningful reforms necessary to restore its credibility with the Republican Party as a fair and nonpartisan actor, the RNC will take every step to ensure that future Republican presidential nominees are given that opportunity elsewhere.”

The letter comes after complaints from the Republicans that the debates have been tilted in favor of the Democrats. The Trump team had a number of clashes with the commission, including over C-SPAN moderator Steve Scully. Scully lied about being in communication with former Trump communications director turned critic, Anthony Scaramucci. He insisted his Twitter was hacked before he later admitted to reaching out to him. The move raised questions about Scully’s ability to be a fair moderator. He was temporarily suspended by C-SPAN for his actions.

New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, who broke the story, suggested the move may be a signal from the GOP that Trump is running again.

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“A different read would be that Trump is running and he won’t debate if he’s the nominee,” Haberman tweeted.

The RNC also wants the CPD to hold debates earlier on in the election cycle due to the pandemic’s effect on states’ opening early voting and mail voting. Currently, debates are set for after the early voting periods open.

“Unfortunately, the CPD’s responses so far seem designed to delay any reform until it is too late to matter for the 2024 election,” McDaniel added. “The RNC, therefore, cannot simply ‘wait and see,’ as the CPD seems to suggest, but must act now. To do otherwise would forestall any meaningful reform and conveniently leave the CPD unaccountable for another election cycle.”

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