GOP to Hold First Presidential Debate in August in Milwaukee

(Bloomberg) -- The Republican National Committee plans to hold its first presidential primary debate in August in Milwaukee to coincide with its summer meeting, but is still working on the criteria for candidates to participate.

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The RNC has discussed possible requirements including that all candidates pledge to support the eventual nominee. That could become a challenge for former President Donald Trump, who has so far declined to commit to backing the GOP nominee if he doesn’t win.

RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel has talked about the need to ensure all candidates agree to unify behind the nominee for the party to succeed.

The RNC’s Standing Committee on Presidential Debates has been reviewing proposals from organizations interested in hosting a primary debate and voted Thursday to hold the first debate in August in Milwaukee, the site of the 2024 GOP convention, McDaniel said in an update to members.

“At this time, no other debates have been sanctioned, nor has the final criteria for the first debate been decided,” McDaniel said. “The committee will continue its work and will release updates as they become available.”

The only declared Republican presidential candidates so far are Trump, former South Carolina Governor and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and Ohio businessman and anti-ESG crusader Vivek Ramaswamy. But several other candidates including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis are expected to get in the race.

Asked in a Feb. 2 interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt whether he’d support the GOP nominee if it’s not him, Trump said, “It would have to depend on who the nominee was.” Trump gave the same answer during his 2016 presidential campaign.

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