The Democratic National Committee will not hold any of its dozen planned debates for the 2020 presidential primary on Fox News, chairman Tom Perez announced Wednesday.
Last month, the DNC chair said the committee was actively in discussions about holding a Fox News-hosted debate and that the network had reportedly submitted a detailed plan about doing so, emphasizing how the network handled a large amount of candidates in the Republican presidential primary last cycle.
“I believe that a key pathway to victory is to continue to expand our electorate and reach all voters. That is why I have made it a priority to talk to a broad array of potential media partners, including FOX News,” Perez said in a statement first reported by Washington Post and provided to The Daily Beast.
“Recent reporting in the New Yorker on the inappropriate relationship between President Trump, his administration and FOX News has led me to conclude that the network is not in a position to host a fair and neutral debate for our candidates,” he continued. “Therefore, FOX News will not serve as a media partner for the 2020 Democratic primary debates.”
Fox News responded in a statement from Bill Sammon, the network’s senior vice president and managing editor. “We hope the DNC will reconsider its decision to bar Chris Wallace, Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, all of whom embody the ultimate journalistic integrity and professionalism, from moderating a Democratic presidential debate.”
Fox News also suggested that because of the decision, Democrats will miss out on the “opportunity to make their case to the largest TV news audience in America, which includes many persuadable voters.”
Wednesday evening, Trump appeared to suggest that he wouldn't debate his Democratic opponent in the general election in retaliation.
Last month, the progressive website Daily Kos delivered a petition to the DNC with more than 100,000 signatures urging them to reconsider any possible Fox debate.
“The DNC is giving Fox News and the conservative movement a giant credibility boost by even considering granting them a debate,” Markos Moulitsas, the founder of the site, told The Daily Beast. “At a time when activists have worked so hard to convince advertisers to abandon that den of racism, bigotry and misogyny, here comes Tom Perez like a jackass undermining all that work.”
A number of presidential candidates have made more concerted efforts to appear on the network as of late, including recent interviews with Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). However, when asked by The Daily Beast about participating in a prospective Fox debate, most declined to say they would do so—aside from Rep. John Delaney (D-MD).
The dozen DNC debates, slated to begin in June, will be hosted by a number of networks. Only the first two sites have been awarded to NBC News and CNN, respectively.