Fox News Reveals Moderators of First GOP Presidential Debate

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FOX News Media President and Executive Editor Jay Wallace announced on June 20, that anchors Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum will co-moderate the first Republican presidential primary debate of the 2024 election.

The debate will be broadcast exclusively on FNC, 9–11 p.m. ET, on Aug. 23 at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. FNC will announce additional special programming surrounding the debate at a later date.

“We are extremely proud to have Bret and Martha moderating the first debate of the 2024 presidential election season as Americans learn more about the candidates ahead of exercising their constitutional right to vote,” Wallace said, according to the Fox News press release.

The network lauded the moderator’s qualifications saying, “Throughout their tenures at the network, Baier and MacCallum have each played pivotal roles in the coverage of every major political event.

“Most recently, they co-anchored special programming for President Joe Biden’s 2023 State of the Union address, the 2022 midterm elections, the 2020 presidential election and the 2018 midterms. Notably, their unrivaled political coverage has ranked number one in all of television, outpacing cable news and broadcast coverage for the past five years.”

Baier is the principal political correspondent and executive editor of cable news’ highest-rated newscast, Special Report with Bret Baier (6–7 p.m./ET), while MacCallum anchors and is the executive editor of The Story with Martha MacCallum (3–4 p.m./ET), the highest-rated news program in its time slot.

Debate Details

Earlier this month, Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel unveiled the details for the first Republican presidential primary debate, disclosing the criteria that candidates must meet in order to qualify for the event.

The qualifications are divided into four categories: candidate status, polling, fundraising, and candidate pledging, according to an RNC press release on June 2.

If the number of qualifying candidates necessitates, a second debate will be held on Aug. 24: “I am excited to announce the criteria for our first presidential primary debate in Milwaukee on August 23,” McDaniel said.

“The RNC is committed to putting on a fair, neutral, and transparent primary process, and the qualifying criteria set forth will put our party and eventual nominee in the best position to take back the White House come November 2024.”

Candidates must have officially announced their campaign, filed a current Statement of campaign and Statement of Organization with the Federal Election Commission, and identified themselves as Republican nominees.

In terms of polls, applicants must meet certain requirements. They must get at least 1 percent in three national polls or 1 percent in two national polls and 1 percent in one early state poll from two “carve out” states that the RNC recognizes (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina).

These polls must talk to at least 800 registered Republican voters who are likely to vote, using a mix of live calls, IVR, online groups, and/or text messages, among other testing methods.

When it comes to collecting, candidates must show that at least 40,000 different people have given money to their main presidential campaign committee or exploratory committee.

There must be at least 200 different givers in each state or territory, and there must be at least 20 states and/or regions. Candidates must show the RNC proof that they have raised this amount of money at least 48 hours before the first debate.

In addition to meeting other requirements, the candidates must also make certain promises. For example, they must sign a contract saying they won’t take part in any debates that the RNC doesn’t organize for the rest of the election cycle and they must promise to back the party’s choice.

The qualified candidates will be placed on stage based on where they stand in the polls, with the candidate with the most votes in the middle.

Trump’s Hesitance

Former President Donald Trump, who is believed to be the Republican frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential cycle, has thus far not indicated whether he plans to attend the debates.

Trump suggested that he might skip out on GOP primary debates during the 2024 presidential cycle.

In a late April post on Truth Social, Trump said the RNC never talked to him or his campaign about the rules and arrangements for debates, indicating his hesitance to participate.

“I see that everybody is talking about the Republican Debates, but nobody got my approval, or the approval of the Trump Campaign, before announcing them,” Trump wrote on Truth Social.

McDaniel told “Fox News Sunday,” in early May, “That’s his choice. And every candidate is going to make that calculation,”

“What I think the American people want to see is these candidates; they want to see what they’re articulating, and especially, what is your plan to take us out of the misery of Joe Biden.”

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to The Epoch Times’s request for comment about the choice of moderators.

However, a representative for the Trump campaign previously told The Epoch Times that the former president’s opinions about the debate have not changed since his most recent public statements.

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