In a move that has been met with criticism, FOX News has issued a memo to Republican campaigns informing them that only surrogates for candidates who have participated in the debate will be granted access to the post-debate “spin room.”
This means that former President Donald Trump and those who did not meet the criteria for being on stage will not be allowed into the media area.
Despite claims from some political pundits that this decision is politically motivated, FOX News maintains that it is merely enforcing its policy regarding credentialed guests.
In a memo obtained by The Hill on Tuesday, FOX News told Republican campaigns, that only surrogates for candidates who are participating in the debate will be granted automatic credentials for the post-debate “spin room.”
This means that Trump, as well as candidates who did not meet the criteria to be on stage, will not have automatic access to the media area.
The memo does not explicitly prohibit the attendance of President Trump’s allies in either the debate or spin room. However, it does stipulate that individuals may be present as guests of other news organizations.
CNN reporter Alayna Treene posted on X:
Deleted a previous tweet to clarify my reporting: Fox News, which is hosting the first GOP primary debate, informed the Trump campaign on Monday they will no longer provide credentials to some Trump surrogates to attend the spin room given Trump is not planning on participating.
Several Trump advisers & top surrogates had been planning to attend both the debate & represent the former president in the spin room despite his absence Some of Trump’s surrogates are credentialed through outside media groups and will not be impacted.
Members of Trump’s campaign, including his senior advisers, were also planning on being in the spin room. But Fox News is in charge of credentials for the spin room. The RNC manages credentials for the actual debate, and sources said those tickets are still expected be honored.
Members of Trump’s teams and his surrogates, however, are still planning on traveling to Milwaukee and are working on a resolution with the network as well as the RNC, two Trump advisers told CNN.
The former president’s aides also believe they will be able to find new credentials, one of the advisers said, and say they are confident they will be in the spin room on Wednesday.
Donald Trump Jr. has announced that he will be attending the upcoming debate in Milwaukee, as reported by The Hill.
This has caused speculation over the exclusion of campaign surrogates from the spin room, a traditional post-debate forum for journalists and pundits to provide immediate analysis on candidates’ performances.
As such, questions are being raised surrounding the fairness of media coverage at this event and whether all perspectives are being adequately represented.
President Trump announced on Sunday evening that he will not be participating in the upcoming Republican presidential debates, citing a recent CBS News/YouGov poll which showed him to have a 46 point lead over his nearest rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Trump stated that “the public knows who I am & what a successful Presidency I had”.
The first GOP debate is scheduled for Wednesday night at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee and will be hosted by the Fox News Channel; while the second debate is slated for September 27 at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California and will be hosted by the Fox Business Network.
Trump’s statement posted to Truth Social, “New CBS POLL, just out, has me leading the field by “legendary” numbers. TRUMP 62%, 46 Points above DeSanctimonious (who is crashing like an ailing bird!), Ramaswamy 7%, Pence 5%, Scott 3%, Haley 2%, Sloppy Chris Christie 2%, “Aida” Hutchinson 1%. The public knows who I am & what a successful Presidency I had, with Energy Independence, Strong Borders & Military, Biggest EVER Tax & Regulation Cuts, No Inflation, Strongest Economy in History, & much more. I WILL THEREFORE NOT BE DOING THE DEBATES!”
In another Truth Social post, Trump wrote, “Many people are asking whether or not I will be doing the DEBATES? ALL AMERICANS have been clamoring for a President of extremely High Intelligence. As everyone is aware, my Poll numbers, over a “wonderful” field of Republican candidates, are extraordinary. In fact, I am leading the runner up, whoever that may now be, by more than 50 Points. Reagan didn’t do it, and neither did others. People know my Record, one of the BEST EVER, so why would I Debate? I’M YOUR MAN. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
President Trump recently raised questions concerning the necessity of participating in an upcoming debate, citing his significant lead in polls as well as potential bias from network anchors against him and the MAGA movement.
In a statement on Twitter, President Trump wrote: “When you’re leading by seemingly insurmountable numbers, and you have the hostile Networks with angry TRUMP & MAGA hating anchors asking the ‘questions,’ why subject yourself to being libeled and abused?”
In lieu of taking part in the debate, ABC News reports that President Trump has already taped an interview to serve as counter-programming.
This development raises further questions about whether traditional debates are necessary for successful campaigns at all.