Republican presidential runners “Donald Trump” and “Ben Carson” have both threatened to boycott the next GOP debate to be hosted by the CNBC on Oct. 28. The two both disagreed to CNBC’s agenda that the debate will run for two hours, with commercials but without the opening and closing statements from the candidates.
The hullabaloo erupted during a conference call on Wednesday morning between the CNBC and several presidential campaign strategists. CNBC announced a program format that was not presented beforehand. According to a report from the Politico, the GOP debate to be held in Boulder, Colorado will be void with all presidential candidates’ opening and closing statements. Naturally, the candidates view opening and closing statements as their platform to introduce themselves to the voting public. However, CNBC thinks that by not having this part of the program, there will be more time for question and answer, hence more time for the actual debate among the candidates.
In a letter to Matthew Cuddy, the Bureau Chief at CNBC, Michael Glassner and Ed Brookover said that “neither Mr. Trump or Dr. Carson will participate in your debate if it is longer than 120 minutes, including commercials and does not include opening and closing statements.” Glassner and Brookever are campaign strategists for Trump and Carson, respectively.
In the letter, which was first reported by NBC, Glassner and Brookover said that the agenda sent by CNBC in partnership with the Republican National Committee stated that the debate will run for two hours plus four commercials running between two and four minutes each. It stated there would not be any opening and closing statements and that each campaign agrees to this.
According to sources who were present during the conference call, but have spoken anonymously to Politico, Glassner and Brookover were not the only ones who objected CNBC’s format. Those who also object were Chris LaCiVita, strategist for Rand Paul; Sarah Sanders, top aide to Mike Huckabee; and other campaign strategists working for Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and John Kasich.
In a statement given to The Associated Press, CNBC spokesman Brian Steel explained that the network was aiming to deliver “the most substantive debate possible.”
“Our practice in the past has been to forego opening statements to allow more time to address the critical issues that matter most to the American people,” Steel explained further. “We started a dialogue yesterday with all of the campaigns involved and we will certainly take the candidates’ views on the format into consideration as we finalize the debate structure,” he said in conclusion.