The New York Times reported, citing five individuals who had conversations with former President Trump, that Trump is thinking about skipping at least a few of the 2024 GOP primary debates.
Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, declared the first two debates of the Republican presidential primary season last month. The first debate will be presented by Fox News in Wisconsin, in August, and will be followed by the second debate in California in the Ronald Reagan Library.
However, Trump is thinking about bypassing one or both of these debates, owing to his polling advantages, their hosting institutions, and the debate schedule.
“I’m up by a lot of points,” Trump said, according to one colleague who spoke with him.
“In his perspective, there aren’t enough candidates polling near to him. And that there’s no benefit for him if he has a debate this early with contenders polling in the single digits,” a person close to Trump’s thinking, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said to the Times.
The New York Times reported on the second debate, scheduled to take place at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library:
“Mr. Trump has informed advisers that he will not participate in the second debate since it will be conducted at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. The head of the library’s panel of trustees, Frederick J. Ryan Jr., is also the publisher and CEO of The Washington Post, which Mr. Trump frequently mentions.”
Trump is also upset because Fox News will be hosting the initial debate.
According to the New York Times:
Mr. Trump explained his decision to boycott the Fox News debate by saying, “Why should I have Bret Baier” ask me questions? “Mr. Trump was enraged with Mr. Baier, a Fox presenter over his reporting of the 2020 election, in which Mr. Baier debunked several of the Trump team’s election-fraud charges.”
Trump allegedly cited previous squabbles with former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly as one of the reasons he refused to participate in a debate held by the network.
Trump’s public views about the GOP primary debate schedule are echoed in these statements.
Trump recently made the following post on Truth Social:
“I see that everyone has been talking about the upcoming Republican debates, but no one got my or the Trump Campaign’s approval before releasing them. When you have a clearly insurmountable lead and hostile networks with enraged, TRUMP & MAGA-hating presenters presenting the “questions,” why expose yourself to the possibility of being slandered as well as abused? The Second Debate is also being placed at the Reagan Library, which is chaired by Fred Ryan, Editor of The Washington Post. NO!”