On Fox News Thursday night, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said he was never going to let ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos moderate a Republican primary debate in 2016.
Earlier in the day, Stephanopoulos had bowed out as moderator amid controversy over his failure to disclose $75,000 in donations to the Clinton Foundation/slush fund.
In an appearance on Fox News’s Hannity, Priebus said it didn’t matter because he has long stated publicly that the former communications director for the Clinton White House would not be involved in a GOP debate.
“I’ve made it very clear and I’ve made public statements about this,” Priebus said. “How can I as chairman of the national party have the former employee of the Clintons, who’s running on the other side, be the person on the stage deposing our candidate?”
That is a great question, and one he should have asked himself in 2012 — when he allowed the former employee of the Clinton White House “to be the person on the stage deposing our candidate.”
Priebus told Hannity that “this was a done deal, as far as I was concerned.” But despite his claims that he made “very clear” public statements on the matter, not everyone got the memo, because right up until yesterday, Republican candidates and pundits were still calling for Stephanopoulos to recuse himself from the debates.
“This is why we have to take control of these debates,” Priebus said. “And this is also another opportunity for us to tell everyone that we’re going to be watching the coverage out there, and we’re going to hold the media accountable to their coverage on Hillary Clinton.”
In January, Priebus released a debate schedule that for the first time excluded MSNBC. Baby steps…