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RFK Jr. accuses Biden and Trump of “collusion” to exclude him from the debates

Independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump “colluded” to exclude him from debates they agreed to participate in Wednesday.

Biden and Trump said Wednesday that they had accepted invitations to the presidential debates hosted by CNN on June 27 and ABC News on September 10.

Kennedy would not currently qualify for the CNN debate in Atlanta based on the criteria set by the network. Stefanie Spear, press secretary for the Kennedy campaign, told NBC News that Kennedy would accept an invitation from CNN to debate Biden and Trump if he qualified.

“Presidents Trump and Biden are colluding to lock America into a face-off that 70% say they don’t want. They are trying to exclude me from their debate because they are afraid I will win “Keeping viable candidates out of the debate phase undermines democracy,” Kennedy said. his message on X Wednesday morning.

Kennedy has already reached the 15% threshold set by CNN in two out of four polls. But the network also announced that participants must “appear on a sufficient number of national ballots to reach the threshold of 270 electoral votes and win the presidency before the eligibility deadline.”

Amaryllis Fox, Kennedy campaign manager posted on As of Wednesday afternoon, they “hope to meet all participation criteria” by June 20 and “look forward to giving American voters the three-way debate they deserve.”

ABC News published similar qualifying criteria for its September debate.

The two networks’ guidelines are also very similar to those published by the Commission on Presidential Debates to set the bar for candidates to qualify for its debate.

The CPD, which traditionally hosted general election debates, has applied similar criteria for its events since the 2000 cycle. That year, Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan and Green Party candidate Ralph Nader criticized the CPD criteria , which kept them away from the debate stage.

Many deadlines set by states for independents to get on the ballot come only after CNN’s scheduled debate.

In Ohio, for example, the Kennedy campaign announced that it had collected the necessary signatures to appear on the ballot. But the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported last week that the campaign would wait to turn in signatures for certification until closer to Ohio’s state deadline, which is Aug. 7.

Earlier this week, Kennedy and his running mate, Nicole Shanahan, announced that they had qualified for the ballot in Texas. But a spokesperson for the Texas Secretary of State said that even though the campaign had abandoned the petitions, they were still being reviewed.

In a recent interview, Kennedy told Catholic network EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo that his campaign was not immediately submitting signatures in some states to avoid further scrutiny from the Democratic National Committee.

“The DNC has its huge operation, they had $3 billion to spend trying to keep us out of the vote,” he said. “We only release our signings at the last minute because it just gives them, you know, more goals to achieve, in a much shorter time frame.”

According to the vote tracking system on the campaign website, Kennedy could currently qualify for 187 electoral votes based on his count in states where they collected signatures.

News Source : www.nbcnews.com
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