Former President and current front-runner in the 2024 Republican presidential primary Donald Trump confirmed in a post to Truth Social Sunday that he will not be participating in Wednesday’s first GOP primary debate hosted by Fox News– or any others.
Trump cited an Aug. 20 CBS poll that shows the now four-times indicted candidate with his largest lead over Florida Governor Ron DeSantis yet, ahead by almost 50 points nationally.
“The public knows who I am & what a successful Presidency I had, with Energy Independence, Strong Borders & Military, Biggest EVER Tax & Regulation Cuts, No Inflation, Strongest Economy in History, & and much more,” Trump wrote on his social media platform Sunday.
“I WILL THEREFORE NOT BE DOING THE DEBATES!” he wrote.
The New York Times reported Saturday that Trump plans to sit down for an interview with ex-Fox News primetime host Tucker Carlson for his new show on X (formerly Twitter).
Carlson recently interviewed Vivek Ramaswamy, a political outsider in the 2024 GOP presidential primary who has been steadily rising in the polls to third place behind Gov. DeSantis.
A decision to air Trump’s interview concurrently with the Fox News debate would upstage not only the other primary candidates, but Fox itself, as both Trump and Carlson are in an ongoing feud with the network.
Fox sent a cease-and-desist letter to Tucker Carlson after he began his wildly successful new show, “Tucker on Twitter,” in June, claiming that Carlson was in violation of his contract that necessitates he keep his content exclusive to Fox through Dec. 31, 2024.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie slammed Trump on X Friday for his decision to skip Wednesday’s debate, calling him a “certified loser” and a “verified coward.”
“Surprise, surprise… the guy who is out on bail from four jurisdictions and can’t defend his reprehensible conduct, is running scared and hiding from the debate stage,” Christie wrote.
The candidates that have qualified to attend the debate so far are DeSantis, Ramaswamy, Christie, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum.
In order to qualify for the debate, candidates must have at least 40,000 unique donors, at least 200 unique donors per state, and must be polling at 1 percent or higher in three national polls, or two national polls and two polls from separate early voting states.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez may have narrowly qualified for the debate, claiming Friday that he had reached 50,000 donations and had met the polling requirements.
Last Thursday, the New York Times reported on a memo prepared by Axiom Strategies, a firm associated with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Never Back Down super PAC.
The memo, posted to the firm’s website, revealed the group’s strategy for DeSantis in the first primary debate, indicating “four basic must-dos”:
“1. Attack Joe Biden and the media 3-5 times. 2. State [Gov. Ron DeSantis’] positive vision 2-3 times. 3. Hammer Vivek Ramaswamy in a response. 4. Defend Donald Trump in absentia in response to a Chris Christie attack.”
“This was not a campaign memo and we were not aware of it prior to the article,” the DeSantis campaign said in a statement to the Hill. “We are well accustomed to the attacks from all sides as the media and other candidates realize Ron DeSantis is the strongest candidate best positioned to take down Joe Biden.”
Vivek Ramaswamy seized on the memo as an opportunity to go after DeSantis, who he called “Robot Ron” in a post on X Thursday.
The debate will be aired on Fox News at 8 p.m. on Wednesday from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.