The Democratic National Committee (DNC) said Wednesday it would not permit Fox News to host a presidential primary debate, citing an explosive story this week alleging deep ties between the conservative network and President TrumpDonald TrumpCheney says a lot of GOP lawmakers have privately encouraged her fight against Trump Republicans criticizing Afghan refugees face risks DeVos says 'principles have been overtaken by personalities' in GOP MORE’s inner circle.
In a statement, DNC Chairman Tom PerezThomas PerezClinton’s top five vice presidential picks Government social programs: Triumph of hope over evidence Labor’s 'wasteful spending and mismanagement” at Workers’ Comp MORE said he had held conversations with Fox News about potentially allowing the network to host a primary debate. But he said the story, published in The New Yorker, caused him to end conversations with the network.
“Recent reporting in The New Yorker on the inappropriate relationship between President Trump, his administration and FOX News has led me to conclude that the network is not in a position to host a fair and neutral debate for our candidates. Therefore, FOX News will not serve as a media partner for the 2020 Democratic primary debates,” Perez said in the statement.
The Washington Post first reported the DNC’s decision to exclude Fox News.
The DNC has already announced they will hold as many as 12 debates during the primary contest, including six this year. The first debates are scheduled for June, on NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo, and July, hosted by CNN.
Fox News had been lobbying to get its own debate, and Perez had considered partnering with the conservative outlet.
In a statement, Fox News senior vice president and Managing Editor Bill Sammon said the network hoped the DNC would reconsider, citing the network’s journalists Chris Wallace, Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, “all of whom embody the ultimate journalistic integrity and professionalism.”
“They’re the best debate team in the business and they offer candidates an important opportunity to make their case to the largest TV news audience in America, which includes many persuadable voters,” Sammon said in an emailed statement.
“I believe that a key pathway to victory is to continue to expand our electorate and reach all voters. That is why I have made it a priority to talk to a broad array of potential media partners, including FOX News,” Perez said.
The New Yorker article, by correspondent Jane Mayer, detailed deep ties between Fox News and the Trump White House.
Former Fox executive Bill Shine is now the White House communications director, and Mayer reported on allegations that former Fox News chief Roger Ailes had given Trump a heads-up about potential questions he would face in a 2016 primary debate.
After leaving Fox News amidst a sexual harassment scandal, Ailes — who has since died — advised the Trump campaign.
Fox News has not hosted a Democratic presidential debate for several election cycles. In 2016, the DNC partnered with Fox News on a primary debate in San Francisco, though that event was later canceled.
— Updated at 1:44 p.m.