March 7 (UPI) -- The Democratic National Committee will not allow Fox News to host any of its 2020 presidential primary debates due to the network's relationship with President Donald Trump.
In a statement to the Washington Post on Wednesday, DNC Chairman Tom Perez said Fox's exclusion is due to evidence in a New Yorker article, titled The Making of The Fox News White House, that suggested the network serves as the president's unofficial propaganda machine.
In the lengthy article published this month are accusations that Fox News declined to publish a story on the president's alleged affair with adult film star Stormy Daniels and that the network advanced him two questions prior to its Republican primary debates in the 2016 general election, among others.
"Recent reporting in the New Yorker on the inappropriate relationship between President Trump, his administration and Fox News has led me to conclude that the network is not in a position to host a fair and neutral debate for our candidates. Therefore, Fox News will not serve as a media partner for the 2020 Democratic primary debates," Perez said in the statement.
Trump responded to the news on Twitter, threatening that he would bar unspecified networks from hosting General Election debates in the run-up to the 2020 election.
Democrats just blocked @FoxNews from holding a debate. Good, then I think I’ll do the same thing with the Fake News Networks and the Radical Left Democrats in the General Election debates!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 7, 2019
"Democrats just blocked @FoxNews from holding a debate. Good, then I think I'll do the same thing with the Fake News Networks and the Radical Left Democrats in the General Election debates!" he said in the tweet.
Fox News said it hopes the DNC would reconsider.
"We hope the DNC will reconsider its decision to bar Chris Wallace, Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, all of whom embody the ultimate journalistic integrity and professionalism, from moderating a Democratic presidential debate," Fox News Senior Vice President Bill Sammon said in a statement. "They're the best debate team in the business and they offer candidates an important opportunity to make their case to the largest TV news audience in America, which includes many persuadable voters."
Fox News anchor Bret Baier also said he was disappointed in the decision.
"That's really a shame," he said. "When it comes to fairness - our news product speaks for itself. We will continue to cover this 2020 race fairly & will continue to invite Democrats-Republicans & Independents on to talk about key issues & substance with our very large viewing audience."
This is not the first time a network has been cut out of the debates; in 2015, the Republican National Committee suspended NBC News from covering future debates, NPR reported.
The DNC has so far doled out its first debate in June to MSNBC, NBC News and Telemundo while giving its second debate to CNN for July. This leaves 10 other Presidential primary dates to be decided.