The CNBC executive who oversaw the disastrous Republican presidential debate is a former Clinton White House staffer, Breitbart News has learned.
Brian Steel, senior vice president of communications at CNBC, was the second highest-ranking network official at Wednesday night’s debate in Colorado after only CNBC CEO Mark Hoffman. Steel was described by an insider as the “executive on hand” for the debate, which was marked by the moderators’ partisan attacks and gotcha questions for the Republican candidates.
Brian Steel worked in Bill Clinton’s White House as a domestic policy adviser to Vice President Al Gore.
His White House gig was just one of three jobs that he held in the Clinton administration. He also worked in Clinton’s Department of Justice, where he served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Policy Development, and also worked as the associate director of the department’s Office of Public Affairs.
Steel told Breitbart News that he was involved in the planning of the debate and also executing public-relations issues but was not directly involved on the editorial side.
Steel is now tasked with defending the network’s disastrous debate performance in the press.
“People who want to be President of the United States should be able to answer tough questions,” Steel told CNN and other outlets for stories about the failure of the night’s moderators.
The CNBC moderators implied that Donald Trump was a cartoon evildoer, grilled Ben Carson on his “vetting process” for giving a speech to a drugmaker that made a product that he used himself, and generally annoyed all of the candidates to the point where they started snapping back at the moderators. A CNBC moderator also falsely said that the debate was “always” going to be two hours long, even though in reality Trump negotiated it down from three hours.
RNC chairman Reince Priebus has suspended the next NBC News-hosted Republican debate in protest over the CNBC-sponsored debacle.
“I was very disappointed in the moderators. I’m disappointed in CNBC,” Priebus said in the Spin Room after the debate finally ended. “I thought they would bring forward a pretty fair forum here tonight. But I think it was one gotcha question, one personal low blow after another.”
“It’s like they tried to design a Rubik’s cube for every question to take the worst element, I think, of what the moderators and what the media should bring to the table,” Priebus said. “And all I can tell you is that while I’m pretty much proud of our candidates for pretty much sticking together, I’m very disappointed in the moderators and I’m very disappointed with CNBC.”