Chris Christie, Rand Paul campaigns complain about bathroom-like greenrooms ahead of GOP debate

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Michael Walsh
·Reporter
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A crew member prepares the venue for the Oct. 28 CNBC Republican presidential debate on Tuesday. (Photo: Brennan Linsley/AP)

GOP presidential campaigns are once again upset over how the Republican National Committee is handling the party’s primary debates.

In particular, campaign coordinators have reportedly taken issue with the varied quality of candidates’ greenroom accommodations ahead of the third Republican presidential debate at the University of Colorado’s Coors Events Center in Boulder on Wednesday.

Low-polling campaigns accused the RNC of providing extravagant spaces to candidates at the front of the pack, such as real estate developer Donald Trump, former neurosurgeon Ben Carson and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, Politico reported.

Sources told the political news site that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul had been relegated to small spaces that resemble bathrooms, prominently featuring toilets.

Conversely, Fiorina’s room has a hot tub, Trump’s expansive room has luxury chairs and a flat-screen television and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s room looks like a small theater with leather chairs for his team, according to the sources.

Chris LaCivita, a top aide to Paul, shared pictures of several greenrooms on Twitter, adding the sardonic signoff “#thanksRNC.”

By Tuesday night, the RNC apparently upgraded the Paul campaign to cushier quarters — though still not as nice as those of his rivals.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus responded to the uproar in an interview on Fox News Channel’s “America’s Newsroom.” He said the committee is dealing with a “gym turned into a debate stage” rather than a facility with 14 comparable greenrooms.

“Well, look. We’ve got 14 candidates, Martha, 14. This is an athletic facility. It’s not quite a Jacuzzi, it’s a locker room,” he said. “They’re doing everything they can to space off everything for candidates.”

Priebus said he thinks everything has been resolved and that he even had a beer with one of Paul’s campaign managers, who seemed “perfectly fine,” on Tuesday night.

“I think we’ve got bigger problems than worrying about greenrooms, but I do think the candidates should be comfortable,” the Republican leader continued. “The fact is that they should be comfortable when they are here and if they need a better room, believe me, we’ll go fight and make sure that they get one. We’ll look anywhere we can in the building to make sure they’re happy. We try to make everyone happy.”

It’s not just the lower-polling candidates who have taken issue with the RNC’s decisions about the primary debates. Earlier this month, Carson and Trump persuaded business channel CNBC to shorten Wednesday night’s debate to just two hours and add closing statements. Several campaigns had taken issue with the lengthy run times of the first two debates.