29 February 2024

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Donald Trump

Donald Trump: Here’s why former US president won’t participate in Republican debates

Former President Donald Trump stated on Sunday that he will miss the first Republican presidential primary debate on Wednesday, as well as others.

“The public knows who I am and what a successful presidency I had,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “As a result, I will not be participating in the debates!” His spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a question about whether he intends to skip all primary debates or just those that are currently scheduled.

Given his overwhelming lead in the campaign, the former president and early GOP frontrunner has stated for months that he sees little benefit in joining his GOP rivals on stage when they convene for the first time in Milwaukee on Wednesday. And he’d made it apparent to those he’d spoken with recently that his opinion had not changed.

“Why would I allow people at 1%, 2%, and 0% to be hitting me with questions all night?” he asked in a June interview with Fox News presenter Bret Baier, who will serve as moderator. Donald Trump has also regularly chastised Fox, the network hosting the Aug. 23 primetime event, claiming it is a “hostile network” that will not treat him fairly.

Donald Trump had been contemplating a variety of debate counterprogramming alternatives, including an interview with former Fox News personality Tucker Carlson, who hosts a show on the platform formerly known as Twitter. According to a person familiar with the visit who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it, Carlson was observed at Trump’s Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club prior of the announcement. According to the New York Times, the interview scheduled to run on Wednesday has already been taped.

“We cannot confirm or deny — please stay tuned,” Donald Trump spokesman Steven Cheung said.

The concept was one of several ideas Donald Trump had discussed in recent weeks. They included showing up in Milwaukee at the last minute, or attending but sitting in the audience and providing live commentary on his Truth Social website. He had even considered dialing into different networks to divert attention away from the debate, or organizing a rally instead.

The decision adds to Trump’s longstanding feud with Fox, which was once a stalwart supporter but is now seen as more favorable to his main competitor, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Fox executives and hosts have encouraged Trump to come, both individually and publicly. According to a source close to Donald Trump, he was unconvinced, believing that executives would not have wooed him if they weren’t concerned about their ratings.

Republican National Committee Plan’s

A source close to Donald Trump stated early Sunday that Trump and his campaign had not informed the Republican National Committee of their plans.

Meanwhile, Trump’s opponents had been pressuring him to appear and preparing in the hopes that he would, fearing that a no-show would make them look like second-tier candidates and deny them the opportunity to land a knockout blow against the race’s Goliath, which could change the race’s trajectory.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, one of the few contenders prepared to take on Trump directly, has accused him of missing “the guts to show up” and branding him a “coward” if he doesn’t.

A DeSantis-supporting super PAC also published a commercial in which the narrator states, “We can’t afford a nominee who is too weak to debate.”

Donald Trump has responded to the attacks by telling Newsmax’s Eric Bolling that he sees no need in engaging when he already leads by a large majority.

“It’s not a matter of guts. “It’s a matter of intelligence,” he explained.

Donald Trump has also stated that if he does not win the nomination, he will not sign a vow to support the ultimate Republican winner, as required by the Republican National Committee for coming on stage.

“Why would I sign it?” he wondered. “I can think of three or four people I wouldn’t vote for as president.” So there’s a problem right there.”

Despite this, his advisers argued for weeks that he had not made a final decision, despite the fact that it was “pretty clear” from his public and private pronouncements that he would not appear.

It’s not the first time Donald Trump has opted out of a key Republican debate.

During his 2016 campaign, Trump skipped the final GOP primary debate before the Iowa caucuses in favor of his own campaign event, a spectacular telethon-style gathering in Iowa advertised as a benefit for veterans.

While the event garnered him attention and diverted focus away from his opponents, Trump went on to lose the Iowa caucuses to Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, a setback that several former aides blamed, at least in part, on his choice to boycott the debate.

Donald Trump Refuses General Election Debate

Donald Trump withdrew from the second general election debate against now-President Joe Biden in 2020 when the Commission on Presidential Debates, a nonpartisan organization that has sponsored general election debates for more than three decades, attempted to make it virtual after Trump tested positive for COVID-19. Trump declined, stating that he would only debate on stage.

Donald Trump is not the only candidate who will most likely miss the gathering on Wednesday. Several lesser-known rivals look unlikely to meet the RNC’s participation threshold. Candidates must have received donations from at least 40,000 individual donors, with at least 200 distinct donors from 20 or more states, to be eligible. Between July 1 and August 21, they must also poll at least 1% in three designated national surveys, or a combination of national and early-state polls.

DeSantis, Christie, former Vice President Mike Pence, software entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott are among those who have met the standards.

In addition to finance and polling criteria, the RNC has stated that candidates must sign a pledge committing to support the ultimate party nominee and agreeing not to participate in any non-RNC-sanctioned debate for the remainder of the election cycle. The Republican National Committee is boycotting events hosted by the Commission on Presidential Debates, citing bias.

“I affirm that if I do not win the 2024 Republican nomination for President of the United States, I will honor the will of the primary voters and support the nominee in order to save our country and beat Joe Biden,” reads the pledge, according to a copy posted by DeSantis to X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter. Candidates must also promise not to run as an independent, write-in, or third-party nominee.

While several candidates, including Christie and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, have objected to the requirement, former Texas Rep. Will Hurd is the only one who has stated unequivocally that he will not sign the pledge because he will not support Donald Trump if he is elected. Christie has stated that he will sign whatever is required to get on stage.

Donald Trump has stated his objection to the loyalty pledge as well as his opposition to boycotting general election debates conducted by the Commission on Presidential Debates. “You really have an obligation to do that,” he remarked on the radio last spring.