Many people are already looking forward to the first presidential debate in the upcoming GOP primary.
Yet, when that first debate comes around, it’s possible that it may not include the party’s presumptive leading candidate.
This week, former President Donald Trump told Reuters that instead of attending the GOP’s first primary debate – scheduled to be hosted by Fox News on August 23 in Milwaukee – he might hold an event of his own.
Reuters asked Trump whether he planned to attend that debate, and he responded “possibly not.” Some of the reasons he gave for that was that he had a big lead in current polls and that he believes Fox News is biased against him.
That August 23 debate will be voters’ first chance to see all the Republican candidates for president share their opinions on the leading issues that are facing the country.
But, Trump doesn’t have a good opinion of Fox News, calling them a “hostile network.” He also said that he didn’t see any reason why he would give other candidates the time of day when was so far ahead of them in polling.
That includes candidates such as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, his former Vice President Mike Pence and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. As Trump explained:
“Why would I give them time to make statements? Why would I do that when I’m leading them by 50 points and 60 points?”
Trump certainly is still the far-and-away favorite to capture the GOP nomination for president. A poll released earlier this month by Reuters/Ipsos revealed that 43% of people who identified as Republican voters said that Trump was the candidate they preferred to emerge out of the GOP primary.
DeSantis garnered 22% support in that poll, while Christie only garnered 2% support.
Some of the other GOP candidates have criticized Trump for saying before that he might skip the GOP debates.
Christie in particular has said that Trump is afraid to be a part of the GOP debates because he could end up losing his projected lead in the primaries. Christie was once a close ally of Trump’s but is now one of his biggest detractors.
At this time, Trump told Reuters that he was listening to various offers to hold an event for himself either while that first GOP debate was going on or later that same night.
As he said:
“We’ve had a lot of offers, whether it’s a rally or whether it’s an interview by somebody else. Not to be braggadocious but the debate will not be a very exciting one if I’m not there.”
If Trump were to not attend the debate, it’s likely that he would still be a major focus of the debate itself – which could be another reason he’s thinking about skipping out on it.
Other GOP candidates would likely be asked about Trump directly at the debate, or would choose to speak about Trump on their own as a way to prove to GOP voters that they’re the better choice.