One day after Donald Trump and Ben Carson threatened to skip CNBC’s next presidential debate over its format, the GOP announced the network is shaking up the event in line with the candidates’ demands.
The Oct. 28 debate will be kept to two-hours air time, including commercials, allow a 30-second closing statement by the candidates, and open with one “open-ended” question that each contender will have the chance to answer, Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus confirmed on Twitter.
— Reince Priebus (@Reince) October 16, 2015
Trump had tweeted earlier on Friday that CNBC would keep the debate to two hours, calling it “fantastic news” for viewers.
The announcement comes after a chaotic call between top RNC officials and the candidates’ campaigns, when tensions over the debate’s format boiled over. Trump and Carson – the top two Republicans in national polls – sent a letter to CNBC Thursday saying that without a two-hour debate and opening and closing statements for all candidates, they would not agree to appearing at the debate.
Trump also accused the network of “pushing the GOP around” by stretching the debate to get more ad time. CNBC had begun to show signs of backpedaling within hours of the event’s rules being reported.