Trump says he will skip the GOP presidential primary debates
New York (AP) – Former President Donald Trump He confirmed Sunday that he will drop the first Republican primary debate in Wednesday’s primary — and others, too.
“The public knows who I am and what a successful presidency I have had,” Trump wrote on his social media site. “So I won’t do the discussions!” His spokesperson did not immediately clarify whether he plans to boycott every preliminary discussion or just the ones that are currently scheduled.
Former President and early frontrunner of the Republican Party he said months ago He saw little improvement in joining his GOP rivals on the stage when they were They meet for the first time in Milwaukee Wednesday, given his lead in the race. He made it clear to those he spoke to in recent days that his opinion had not changed.
“Why would I allow people at 1% or 2% and 0% to ask me questions all night long?” he said in an interview in June with Fox News host Bret Baier, who will serve as moderator. Trump has also repeatedly criticized Fox, the host of the Aug. 23 primetime event, insisting it is a “hostile network” that he believes will not treat him fairly.
Trump has been discussing a number of anti-debate programming options, according to people familiar with the discussions. He recorded an interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who was hosting a show on the site formerly known as Twitter, according to a person who asked not to be identified to discuss private planning. The interview is expected to be broadcast on Wednesday.
“We can neither confirm nor deny — stay tuned,” said Trump spokesman Stephen Cheung. Carlson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The idea was one of several alternatives Trump has floated in talks in recent weeks. They may have shown up in Milwaukee at the last minute or turned up but sat in the audience and provided live commentary on his Truth Social. He has also discussed the possibility of contacting different networks to draw viewers out of the debate, or holding a rally instead.
The decision marks another chapter in Trump’s ongoing feud with Fox, once a staunch advocate but now seen as more favorable to his main rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Fox executives and hosts pressured Trump to attend, both privately and on the network’s airwaves. But Trump, according to a person close to him, wasn’t fazed, believing that executives wouldn’t have convinced him if they weren’t worried about their ratings.
A person familiar with the matter said earlier Sunday that Trump and his team had not notified the Republican National Committee of his plans.
Meanwhile, Trump’s opponents have been urging him to show up and He prepares hoping he mightworried that not showing up might make them look like second-rate favorites and deny them the chance to land a knockout blow against Goliath in the race that could change the course of the race.
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, one of the few candidates willing to confront Trump directly, has been accusing the ex-president of lacking “the guts to show up” and calling him a “coward” if he doesn’t.
The super PAC supporting DeSantis released an announcement in which the narrator says, “We can’t afford a candidate who is too weak to debate.” Andrew Romeo, a spokesman for DeSantis’ campaign, added that “No one is entitled to this nomination, including Donald Trump. You have to show up and earn it.”
Trump fended off the attacks, telling Newsmax’s Eric Boling he sees little point in participating when he’s already leading by such a large margin.
It’s not a matter of bravery. “It’s an intelligence issue,” he said.
Trump has it too He said that he would not sign a pledge to support the final Republican nominee if he lost the nomination—a requirement set by the Republican National Committee for him to appear on stage.
“Why do I sign it?” He said. I can name three or four people whom I would not support for president. So there is a problem.”
However, his advisers insisted for weeks that he had not yet made a final decision, although they acknowledged that it was “quite clear” from his public and private statements that he was unlikely to appear.
This isn’t the first time Trump has chosen to skip a major Republican debate.
During his 2016 campaign, Trump decided to forgo the final GOP showdown before the Iowa caucuses and instead hold his own campaign event – a Flashy telethon-style pool In Iowa billed as a fundraiser for veterans.
While the event earned him headlines and drew attention away from his rivals, Trump lost the Iowa caucuses to Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas — a loss that some of his former aides blamed, at least in part, on his decision to skip the debate. .
In 2020, Trump dropped out of the election’s second general debate against the sitting president Joe Biden After the Commission on Presidential Debates, a nonpartisan group that has hosted public debates about the election for more than three decades has sought to virtualize it after Trump. Tested positive for COVID-19. Trump refused, saying he would only discuss it on stage.
Trump isn’t the only candidate likely to miss Wednesday’s event. It seems unlikely that many of the lesser-known competitors will reach the threshold set by the Congolese National Committee for participation. To qualify, candidates must have received contributions from at least 40,000 individual donors, with at least 200 unique donors in 20 or more states. They must also vote by at least 1% in three specific national polls, or a combination of national polls and early state polls, between July 1 and August 21.
The candidates who met the qualifications include DeSantis, Christie, former Vice President Mike Pence, tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott.
Besides fundraising and balloting requirements, the party’s National Council said candidates must also sign a pledge agreeing to ultimately support the party’s nominee as well as agree not to participate in any debate not endorsed by the RNC for the remainder of the election cycle. The FNC is boycotting events organized 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 respect the will of primary voters and support the candidate in order to save our country and beat Joe Biden,” the pledge read, according to the pledge to a transcript DeSantis posted to the social media site. X. Candidates must also undertake not to run as an independent, in writing, or as a third party candidate.
While several candidates, including Christie and former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson, have vetoed the requirement, only former Texas Rep. Will Hurd has said emphatically that he would not sign the pledge because he refuses to support Trump if he becomes the final nominee. Christie said he would sign whatever was required to get on stage.
In addition to voicing his opposition to the Pledge of Allegiance, Trump has indicated that he opposes a boycott of the general election debates hosted by the Commission on Presidential Debates. “You, really, have an obligation to do it,” he said in a radio interview this spring. ___ Associated Press writer Lisa Mascaro contributed to this report from Washington.
This article originally appeared on apnews.com