The Democratic National Committee is not interested in hosting a debate specifically dedicated to climate change, 2020 candidate Jay Inslee said Wednesday.
Following a vigorous push from the Democratic governor of Washington, the DNC ultimately informed Inslee they will not host a climate debate.
“Today, my team received a call from the Democratic National Committee letting us know that they will not host a climate debate,” Inslee said in a statement. “Further, they explained that if we participated in anyone else's climate debate, we will not be invited to future debates.”
He continued: “This is deeply disappointing. The DNC is silencing the voices of Democratic activists, many of our progressive partner organizations, and nearly half of the Democratic presidential field, who want to debate the existential crisis of our time. Democratic voters say that climate change is their top issue; the Democratic National Committee must listen to the grassroots of the party."
Inslee in April launched an effort to push the DNC to host a climate-centric debate and personally wrote to DNC chairman Tom Perez urging him to consider it. A number of 2020 presidential candidates and progressive groups had joined the call as well.
The DNC subsequently said in a statement that they have emphasized the importance of the issue to the media hosts of debates but are not seeking to hold single-issue debates.
“The DNC has told media partners from the start the importance of climate change during the debates for the 2020 cycle, and frankly, it’s an issue that should have been more prominent during the 2016 cycle,” Xochitl Hinojosa, communications director for the DNC, told The Daily Beast. “Our goal is to provide a platform for candidates to have a vigorous discussion on ideas and solutions on the many issues that voters care about, including the economy, climate change, and health care. While climate change is at the top of our list, the DNC will not be holding entire debates on a single issue area because we want to make sure voters have the ability to hear from candidates on dozens of issues of importance to American voters.”
UPDATE 7:07 P.M.: This story was updated to include comment from the DNC.