Chris Christie released a statement blasting the Republican National Committee (RNC) for threatening to exclude him from the third presidential debate.
Christie, the former governor of New Jersey who is running in the GOP presidential primary, said on Tuesday the RNC has threatened to exclude him and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy from the debate, which is scheduled for November 8 in Miami, Florida, over a planned joint appearance on Fox News, which sparked the ire of the RNC.
The RNC has threatened to exclude the two from the debate, citing a rule prohibiting candidates from participating in unsanctioned debates. The scuffle follows the second primary debate, which saw candidates spar over issues such as the Russia-Ukraine war and the economy. The debate was widely defined by candidates constantly interrupting and speaking over each other, leaving many Republican viewers disappointed.
Christie criticized the threat to exclude him from the debate in a statement posted to X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, writing that the RNC stopping “conversations between candidates from happening” is a “real cause for concern,” as the GOP needs “more debates and in-depth discussions.”
“Voters need more information not less. Our Party needs more debates and in-depth discussions not less. This is common sense and the bedrock of our Republic. When the RNC stops conversations between candidates from happening that is real cause for concern,” he wrote.
Christie continued: “It is very disappointing that we were threatened with exclusion from the Miami debate and future debates for trying to have a more complete dialogue with each other and the voters. Every campaign was offered that opportunity by Fox News and they have now been effectively banned by the RNC,” Christie wrote.
An RNC spokesperson responded to Christie in a statement first reported by CNN.
“The same candidates complaining about the rules governing RNC debates all signed a pledge and agreed months ago to not participate in unsanctioned debates. The RNC will continue to enact a fair, transparent debate process and we will not give in to pressure from individuals seeking to change the rules to favor their candidacy,” the statement said.
Newsweek also reached out to the RNC for comment via email.
Ramaswamy also criticized the move in his own X post, describing the last debate as a “disgrace” and that he is “starting to believe that was by design.”
“Instead of allowing open dialogue and the airing of ideas to give primary voters a real choice, the Establishment would rather cut backroom deals and offer up phony debates, including candidates with no viable path and questions that no voter would ever ask. The Establishment was hellbent on taking down Trump. Now they’re hellbent on propping up their favored puppets. We won’t let them get away with it,” he wrote.
Christie has made his criticisms of former President Donald Trump, who refused to participate in the first two debates and has called for the third to be canceled, a cornerstone of his presidential campaign. Once a Trump ally, he has turned on the ex-president following the January 6, 2021, riot at the United States Capitol building.
FiveThirtyEight’s aggregate of recent polls shows Trump leading with 55.4 percent of the vote, while Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is in second place with 13.7 percent of the vote as of October 2, 2023. Ramaswamy is averaging 6.4 percent of support, while Christie is receiving support from an average of 2.8 percent.