Spicer: 'Near impossible' for 2020 Democrats to refuse Fox News debate

Spicer: 'Near impossible' for 2020 Democrats to refuse Fox News debate
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Former White House press secretary Sean SpicerSean Michael SpicerProgressive groups targeting Harvard, other universities with ad urging them to not hire Trump officials Celebs unwind at Capitol File WHCD after party Journalists close out WHCD at MSNBC/NBC News after-party MORE said Tuesday that it would be "near impossible" for some 2020 Democratic candidates to turn down participating in an independent debate hosted by Fox News.

"The biggest threat to the DNC’s plan will likely come from an unexpected source: Fox News. The DNC has excluded Fox from hosting a debate, which means there is no incentive for Fox to work within the DNC framework," Spicer wrote in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece.

Spicer also noted that the network had already held events with Democratic candidates, including a town hall with Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersHere are the potential candidates still eyeing 2020 bids Sanders unveils education plan that would ban for-profit charter schools Warren policy ideas show signs of paying off MORE (I-Vt.)

"It may not be long before Fox announces it will host a debate independent of the DNC. With 2.4 million prime-time viewers, it would be near impossible for many candidates to say no, especially those near the bottom looking to break out," Spicer wrote.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) announced earlier this year that it would be barring Fox News from hosting a Democratic presidential primary debate because of the network’s reportedly close ties to the Trump administration.

The DNC announced in December a dozen primary debates split between 2019 and 2020 to accommodate a field that already includes 20 presidential contenders. It also has set criteria, including the number of small donors and polling, to qualify to participate in a debate. 

Spicer argued that because the Democratic party "is on track to have many more than 20 candidates" qualify for debates, some lower-profile candidates may be willing to appear on Fox-hosted debates outside of the DNC's structure to get more coverage.

Democratic candidates are not blocked from appearing on Fox News for interviews or town halls.

Sanders had significant success with a town hall on Fox, which drew more than 2.55 million viewers.

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegButtigieg accuses Trump of 'paying lip service' to LGBT rights Warren policy ideas show signs of paying off Overnight Health Care — Presented by Campaign for Accountability — Momentum builds for federal laws enshrining abortion rights | Missouri lawmakers approve bill banning abortions at 8 weeks | Warren unveils plan to protect abortion rights MORE and Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharInslee gives public option first test in Washington state Momentum builds behind push to pass laws enshrining abortion rights Poll: Biden is only Dem candidate that beats Trump outside of margin of error MORE (D-Minn.), both Democratic hopefuls, are set to appear in Fox News town halls in May.