Former Presidential Candidate Bob Dole Calls Debate Commission Biased as GOP Members Don't Support Trump

Former Kansas Senator and Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole alleged on Friday that the Committee on Presidential Debates (CPD) was biased in favor of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

President Donald Trump, who took part in a contentious debate with Biden in October, has made claims that the CPD has attempted to pivot the debate process against him. Trump rejected the CPD's plan to re-format the second debate as a virtual event because of Trump's recent COVID-19 diagnosis. Bob Dole took to Twitter on Friday to criticize the CPD's perceived Democratic leanings.

"The Commission on Presidential Debates is supposedly bipartisan w/ an equal number of Rs and Ds. I know all of the Republicans and most are friends of mine." Dole tweeted. "I am concerned that none of them support @realDonaldTrump. A biased Debate Commission is unfair."

The Commission on Presidential Debates is supposedly bipartisan w/ an equal number of Rs and Ds. I know all of the Republicans and most are friends of mine. I am concerned that none of them support @realDonaldTrump. A biased Debate Commission is unfair.

— Senator Bob Dole (@SenatorDole) October 9, 2020

According to information on the CPD website, the commission is "not controlled by any political party or outside organization, and it does not endorse, support, or oppose political candidates or parties." Newsweek reached out to the CPD for comment.

bob dole
Former Republican Presidential candidate Bob Dole expressed concerns Friday that none of the Republican members of the Commission on Presidential Debates support President Donald Trump. Tasos Katopodis/AFP/Getty

In a Thursday statement, the CPD said that the second presidential debate would be presented in the "form of a town meeting in which the candidates would participate from separate remote locations." The CPD said it made the decision to change the debate format "to protect the health and safety of all involved."

On Friday, the CPD cancelled the second debate, according to an exclusive report by the Wall Street Journal, as the Trump campaign refused a virtual debate, and the Biden campaign refused to push the dates back.

During an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News Thursday, Trump called the CPD a "joke" while flatly rejecting the idea of a virtual debate.

"I'm not Joe Biden," Trump said. "I'm not gonna do a virtual debate and sit behind a computer screen."

Trump asserted that the virtual format proposed by the CPD would give Biden an advantage because "they'll be handing him the answers," Trump said. "He does news conferences and they give him the answer, and they give him the question."

While debating Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election cycle, Trump claimed that his microphone was faulty. Trump blamed the CPD for the technical error. While the CPD acknowledged in a 2016 statement that "there were issues regarding Donald Trump's audio that affected the sound level in the debate hall," those sound issues did not affect the television broadcast.

With the second debate cancelled, Biden is expected to instead participate in a town hall meeting. That town hall is expected to take place on October 15, the originally slated date of the second presidential debate.

Dole was the Republican Party's presidential nominee in the 1996 election, facing off against incumbent President Bill Clinton. Clinton defeated Dole with 379 votes in the Electoral College and roughly 49 percent of the popular vote.

In 2018, Trump awarded Dole the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award granted by Congress. While speaking about Dole's military service during World War II, Trump called Dole an "American patriot who defended freedom in its hour of need."