Trump attacks his rivals in an online interview with Tucker Carlson while skipping the presidential debate


NEW YORK (AP) — Eight Republican presidential candidates have tried it He brought up their case in a Wednesday night discussion that their party should move on from Donald Trump And in 2024, the former president tries to make his argument that everyone else is irrelevant.

Trump, the front-runner for the nomination, skipped the race The first Republican presidential debate in Milwaukeeinstead of choosing to appear in a pre-recorded interview with Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson It was posted Wednesday night on X, the site formerly known as Twitter. The interview was posted online five minutes before the debate aired.

“Do I sit there for an hour or two, no matter what, and get harassed by people who shouldn’t even be running for president?” In the 46-minute interview, Trump said: “Should I do this on a network that isn’t particularly friendly to me?”

Trump attacked some of his rivals early on, calling former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson “nasty” and citing him as an example of someone who should not be on the debate stage, along with former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Christie and Hutchinson both criticized Trump and said he should not run for president.

“I would have all these people yelling at me, asking me questions, all of which I would love to answer, and I would love to do it. But it just doesn’t make sense to do that, so I just shrug it off,” Trump said.

Trump, who is facing a barrage of legal troubles – including in Georgia, where He is expected to turn himself in on Thursday Being booked on government charges of conspiring to overthrow the 2020 presidential election – He said it was inappropriate for him to appear with other candidates on the debate stage in Milwaukee because of his high lead in the polls.

His ongoing dispute with Fox News, which is hosting the debate, appears to have cemented his decision.

In a post on the social network Truth hours before the debate, Trump insulted two Fox anchors and complained about the network.

Then he touted his poll numbers and wrote, “Fox News refuses to publish or discuss.”

His third bid for the White House comes as he continues to side with those who espouse extremist views and conspire as he wraps his campaign around false claims about the last election.

Appearing with Carlson rather than debating tends to. The former Fox host has opinion promotion that white people are being “replaced” by people of color and spreading misinformation on issues such as January 6, 2021, insurrection at the US Capitol And the war in Ukraine.

Carlson tried to engage Trump in conspiracy theories about disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein and then asked Trump if his political opponents might threaten his life, which Trump did not refuse.

“They are wild animals. They are sick people. Very sick. You have great people in the Democratic Party, great Democratic people,” Trump said. “But I’ve seen what they do, and I’ve seen how far they’ve come.”

As he told Carlson: “I think getting rid of you was a terrible move.”

The night before the interview, Trump spoke at a fundraiser hosted by his golf club in New Jersey for the Freedom Patriot Project, which supports defendants accused of their roles in the insurrection.

Trump has remained dominant in the party even as he faces increased legal risk in four separate criminal cases related to his efforts to overturn his loss in the 2020 election, and allegations that he mishandled classified documents and classified financial payments to conceal allegations of extramarital affairs.

The day after the debate, he is scheduled to make his fourth appearance this year as a criminal defendant, when he appears in Georgia to answer charges in a sprawling racketeering case related to his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election in that state.

Polls show that despite the legal challenges, his standing among Republicans remains strong.

Before Trump announced on Sunday his decision to skip the debate, several Fox News figures and executives encouraged him to participate. And while many hosts on the network have supported Trump over the years, the former president has complained since leaving office what he feels is unfair coverage.

It appears that his decision to sit down with Carlson instead is also meant to send a message to the network, who kicked out the host earlier this year. The network did not provide any explanation, but it happened shortly after After Fox agreed to pay $787.5 million to a defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems over the network’s coverage of Trump’s false claims after the 2020 election.

Trump and his team have not indicated whether he will skip all the Republican debates, or at least those that have been announced so far. He complained about the venue for the second debate in September. The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, because Fred Ryan, publisher and executive director of The Washington Post, is chairman of the institution’s board of trustees.

Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is in Milwaukee as a Trump campaign surrogate, described it as futile for him to debate Trump because he has a huge lead in the polls.

“There is nothing he has to prove with them at that point,” she said in an interview on Wednesday. “They have everything to prove against him.”

Several candidates on the debate stage have embraced Trump’s policies, including his closest rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who criticized Trump for not going far enough to pursue his policies. Three other candidates have worked for Trump: Mike Pence, his vice president; Nikki Haley, who served as Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations; and former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who helped Trump prepare for debates in 2016 and 2020 and led his transition team in 2016.

“They’re all playing by the same playbook, they’re all adopting the same unpopular positions that Donald Trump has led, and he continues to drag this party to the extreme,” said Cedric Richmond, a former Democratic congressman and co-chair of the president. Joe Biden’s campaign told reporters on Tuesday. “Whether he’s on stage or not, his extremist agenda will be.”


Associated Press writers Bill Barrow in Atlanta and Sarah Burnett in Milwaukee contributed to this report.

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