ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos said Thursday afternoon that he will not moderate a Republican presidential primary debate sponsored by the network after failing to disclose his donations to the Clinton Foundation.
Stephanopoulos told Politico in an interview that he’d given $75,000 to the nonprofit from 2012-2014. Earlier reports said the foundation’s records showed the longtime aide to former President Bill Clinton had donated $50,000 between 2013 and 2014.
The ABC News anchor also went beyond a statement he gave earlier in the day that acknowledged he should’ve publicly disclosed the donations sooner. In the interview, he told Politico that he shouldn’t have given the money at all despite doing it “for the best reasons.”
Republican presidential candidate and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) told the New York Times that he believed Stephanopoulos’ charitable giving to the Clinton Foundation, as well as his ties to the former first family, should preclude him from moderating any GOP primary debates. The ABC News anchor later said that he would withdrew himself from a debate that ABC News is expected to sponsor February in New Hampshire.
“I won’t moderate that debate,” Stephanopoulos told Politico. “I think I’ve shown that I can moderate debates fairly. That said, I know there have been questions made about moderating debates this year. I want to be sure I don’t deprive moderators or viewers of a good debate.”
The anchor added that he plans to address the donations Sunday on “This Week.”
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at email@example.com.