RNC Chairman Calls CNBC Debate ‘A Crap Sandwich’

Fallout from the way that CNBC ran the most recent Republican presidential debate has placed the Republican National Committee’s future relationship with NBC News on uncertain ground. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus put the next NBC-hosted debate on hold “pending further discussion” and called the CNBC debate “a crap sandwich.”

In advance of the Republican Debate hosted by CNN last month, moderator Jake Tapper revealed his desire to have the presidential candidates fight with each other. Speaking to the New York Times, Tapper indicated that it was his goal to “draw the contrasts between the candidates, and have them fight it out over these policies.”

Although some candidates did take shots at other candidates during that debate, the suggestion that CNN’s goal was to manufacture drama was somewhat overblown.

In the most recent debate, CNBC seemed to take a page from CNN’s playbook, but it backfired in a big way.

CNBC debate Donald Trump
The first question for Trump was whether he is running a “comic book campaign.” [Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]
When asked what was, by all accounts, a substantive question, Senator Ted Cruz instead pivoted to attack earlier questions asked of other candidates that he considered out of line.

“This is not a cage match. And you look at the questions – ‘Donald Trump, are you a comic-book villain?’ ‘Ben Carson, can you do math?’ ‘John Kasich, will you insult two people over here?’ ‘Marco Rubio, why don’t you resign?’ ‘Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen?’ How about talking about the substantive issues the people care about?”

Cruz wasn’t alone, either. On social media, even self-avowed liberals chimed in to agree.

That excoriation of the CNBC moderators turned what had been a somewhat awkward event into a free for all. Marco Rubio turned questions about his finances and senate voting record around on the media, and Chris Christie came right out and called the CNBC moderators rude.

Business Insider reports that Rubio, Ben Carson, and other candidates complained about CNBC after the debate was over.

In an interview with Sean Hannity, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus revealed that he spent the entire event “seething” over the way that CNBC handled the debate.

“It was a insanity. I mean just sitting there, seething through this thing,” Priebus told Hannity, “thinking about hitting the circuit breaker in the auditorium — it crossed my mind.”

Part of the problem may be that CNBC isn’t a general news network. It’s a financial news outlet, and the RNC partnered with the network with the idea that the debate would focus on fiscal issues.

CNBC debate Chris Christie
Chris Christie told moderators that they would be considered rude “even in New Jersey.” [Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]
While several questions addressed various budget plans, and Rubio was questioned on his personal finances, the Washington Post reports that the debate wasn’t what the RNC expected.

“Obviously we had assurances that it was going to be straight-up finance, which is what they do every day,” RNC Chair Priebus told Sean Hannity. “And what was delivered was just nothing but a crap sandwich. I guarantee you we’re going to make sure that CNBC isn’t hosting and moderating another debate with our candidates.”

Priebus went further than that, though. In a letter addressed to the Chairman of NBC News, Priebus indicated that there may be no more Republican debates on NBC News outlets.

In the letter, Priebus says that the RNC is suspending its relationship with NBC News “pending further discussion between the Republican National Committee and our presidential campaigns.”

The debate that was scheduled to take place on February 26, 2016, at the University of Houston will still take place, but following the events of the CNBC debate, NBC’s involvement is no longer certain. Telemundo was originally scheduled to carry the debate.

“While we are suspending our partnership with NBC News and its properties, we still fully intend to have a debate on that day, and will ensure that National Review remains part of it.”

This isn’t the first time that the RNC has butted heads with NBC News. According to RealClearPolitics, the RNC left MSNBC out in the cold this election cycle due to prior conflicts with the network. CNBC was chosen for its focus on financial issues, but that didn’t end well either.

[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]

Share this article: RNC Chairman Calls CNBC Debate ‘A Crap Sandwich’
More from Inquisitr