The upcoming Republican presidential primary debate will be broadcasted on the Fox Business Network, but notable anchor Maria Bartiromo will not be participating.
Fox News Media’s parent company announced on Wednesday that Stuart Varney, a daytime anchor on the business network, will be the moderator for the event on September 27th at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. He will be joined by Univision anchor Illa Calderón and Fox News host Dana Perino from “The Five.”
In the first GOP debate on Fox News, held in Milwaukee on April 23rd, former President Donald Trump was absent. The debate garnered more attention than expected, with an average of 12.8 million viewers, as reported by Nielsen. This debate was particularly significant in defining the non-Trump GOP candidates.
As of now, there are no indications that Donald Trump, who currently holds a substantial lead in the polls, will be participating in the September debate. The debate will be broadcasted on Fox Business Network, Fox News, and the streaming service Fox Nation. Additionally, Univision will provide a Spanish language feed.
Fox News did not provide a comment regarding the absence of Maria Bartiromo. She was previously a co-moderator alongside anchor Neil Cavuto during the last primary debate presented by Fox Business in January 2016.
Maria Bartiromo, a financial journalist, is known for hosting the network’s daily show “Mornings with Maria” and the political discussion program “Sunday Morning Futures” on Fox News Channel. She played a significant role in the defamation case brought by Dominion Voting Systems against Fox. The case resulted in a $787.5 million settlement.
Dominion claimed that false statements about voter fraud in the 2020 election, made on Fox News, caused damage. Some of these false claims were promoted on Bartiromo’s programs without significant challenge from the anchor. Trump’s attorneys Sidney Powell and Rudolf Giuliani promoted these claims multiple times on Bartiromo’s Sunday program in the weeks following the election. All three individuals have since been arrested in Georgia and charged with attempting to overturn the election results in the state.
Fox News decided to settle the case with Dominion to avoid its executives and on-air talent being called to testify in court. Evidence revealed that Bartiromo believed in Trump’s claims, even though Fox News had reported them as false. Additionally, Fox News executives were concerned that Trump-supporting conspiracy theorists were influencing Bartiromo’s approach to the voter fraud story.
Despite the significant payout resulting from the case, Bartiromo continues her roles on both Fox News and Fox Business Network. Her participation in the debate could potentially create distractions, especially given Trump’s ongoing claims about the 2020 election being stolen.
Fox News is also facing another defamation lawsuit related to its election coverage, filed by Smartmatic, a voting machine company. In this case, Bartiromo is one of the defendants.
Stuart Varney, the chosen moderator for the upcoming debate, holds politically conservative views and is known for posing tough questions that make Republican politicians uncomfortable. He has been anchoring Fox Business Network’s “Varney & Co.” since 2007.
Illa Calderón, co-anchor of Univision’s evening newscast, previously moderated a 2020 Democratic primary debate on CNN.
Dana Perino, a former White House press secretary during the George W. Bush administration, is a co-host on “The Five,” the most-watched program in cable news.