After weeks of teasing his followers, Donald Trump has reportedly decided to skip the first Republican presidential debate next Wednesday.
According to reports, he will instead sit for an interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson during the same time slot as the debate on Fox News.
Breaking News: Donald Trump plans to skip the first Republican primary debate for an interview with Tucker Carlson, people briefed on the matter said. It's an affront both to the Republican National Committee and to Fox News, which is hosting the event. https://t.co/46TyExl5Rh
— The New York Times (@nytimes) August 18, 2023
From the New York Times:
In the past 24 hours, Mr. Trump has told people close to him that he has made up his mind and will skip the debate in Milwaukee, according to two of the people briefed on the matter.
Mr. Trump is notoriously mercurial, and left himself something of an out to change his mind with an ambiguous post on his website, Truth Social, on Thursday. He wrote that he’s polling well ahead of his rivals and added, “Reagan didn’t do it, and neither did others. People know my Record, one of the BEST EVER, so why would I Debate?”
For weeks, the former president has been quizzing aides, associates, and rally crowds about what he should do. Until earlier this week, Mr. Trump had been giving people the impression he was considering a last-minute surprise appearance on Wednesday.
The Times notes that the Carlson chat is clearly something of a big middle finger from both Trump and Carlson to Fox News. Trump has been openly angry with the right-leaning network for not being as publicly “supportive” as he’d like.
And, of course, Carlson gets to thumb his nose at his former network after they fired him earlier this year. Despite the fact he’s still under contract with Fox News, he’s aired a few “Twitter shows” leading Fox to send him cease-and-desist letters. And yet, he does not.
In related news, Trump has now cancelled his previously announced “exoneration” press event on Monday where he promised to reveal “irrefutable & overwhelming” evidence that the 2020 election was stolen.
He now says his lawyers will put that info in “formal legal filings,” though attorneys had cautioned the presser could complicate his legal issues.
Translation: My lawyers told me if I held a presser and prattled on about a magical report, they’d all quit and testify against me…like most of my other lawyers. pic.twitter.com/QmT5hPIGGd
— Jack E. Smith ⚖️ (@7Veritas4) August 18, 2023
BREAKING: Trump has decided to skip the first GOP primary debate on Wednesday, instead opting to do an online interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson. This is a huge slap in the face to both the Republican National Committee and to Fox News, which is hosting the event.
— Jon Cooper (@joncoopertweets) August 18, 2023
"Show up on Wednesday night. And stop being such a coward." @GovChristie tells @Morning_Joe that if Trump truly believes he should be the 2024 GOP nominee, he should show up to next week's GOP primary debate. Trump's indicated he may not attend the event. https://t.co/lDngwcaDcI pic.twitter.com/kQ0MVos2SK
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) August 18, 2023