The highly controversial proposal for Fox News to hold a forum featuring the three candidates for Speaker of The U.S. House of Representatives imploded shortly after being reported by multiple outlets including Trending Politics News on Thursday.
According to The Hill, Fox News host Bret Baier was scheduled to moderate the debate between House Majority Leader Scalise (R-LA.), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Republican Study Committee Chairman Kevin Hern (R-OK.) The event was even redesignated as a “joint interview” instead of a debate.
The outlet reported that the decision to hold such a forum, debate or “joint interview” resulted in serious fallout due to the prospect of thrusting what has long been a closed-door partisan process into the national spotlight.
Rep. John Duarte (R-CA.) told Axios, “This is a bad idea” calling the event a “lapse of judgment.”
He explained, “Right now we’ve got a lot to work out that’s very delicate, emotions and otherwise, and this is not going to help our conference work through some very difficult times. . . . We know it’s a debate, we don’t need to play semantic games.”
A spokesman for Jordan said that initially, the Congressman sought to adjust the schedule to allow the candidates to speak with the GOP Conference prior to the event. The conference scheduled a closed-door forum on Tuesday.
In a statement to CNN the spokesman said. “Mr. Jordan is always happy to share his plan for the country, but he believes it is crucial to meet with the GOP conference before the event.”
Abruptly though Hern pulled out, posting to X, formerly Twitter, “I still haven’t made a decision on my candidacy for speaker, but I know one thing for sure. I will not be participating in the televised debate. We need to make this decision as a conference, not on TV. The Republican conference needs a family discussion.”
I still haven’t made a decision on my candidacy for speaker, but I know one thing for sure.
I will not be participating in the televised debate.
We need to make this decision as a conference, not on TV. The Republican conference needs a family discussion.
— Congressman Kevin Hern (@repkevinhern) October 6, 2023
Congressman Scalise decided not to participate shortly thereafter according to a source cited by The Hill.
This was later confirmed by Baier during a broadcast on Friday. He explained that plans for the forum were called off after they were leaked. He insisted that Fox News had “agreed to hold back” any announcement of the event.
Bret Baier confirms that Monday's Fox News speaker event is officially off.
He then blames the leak to Jake Sherman for scuttling it, fuming about the "bizarre stories and weird reporting that I was going to be moderating a debate privately for the Republican caucus." pic.twitter.com/TTe5z0ApsB
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) October 6, 2023
Journalist Justin Baragona posted to X, that Baier was fuming about the event being canceled and blamed Jake Sherman of Punchbowl News for the collapse citing “bizarre stories and weird reporting that I was going to be moderating a debate privately for the Republican caucus.”
“This morning there was some kind of leak on Capitol Hill,” Baier said according to the outlet. “We obviously work with a number of staffs on how the logistics were going to work and somehow somewhere it leaked on Capitol Hill with some bizarre reporting that I was going to be moderating a debate privately.” He indicated that the leaked info, reported by numerous outlets, TPN included, were wrong. This never was the plan he said.
“And then there became pressure from other members on these three to not do that before they talked to other members,” the anchor said. “They had all agreed, the pressure built. And that’s what happened.”