Donald Trump to skip Republican presidential debates citing popularity

Former US President and 2024 Presidential hopeful Donald Trump attends the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, on August 12, 2023. — AFP
Former US President and 2024 Presidential hopeful Donald Trump attends the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, on August 12, 2023. — AFP

The four-time indicted former US President Donald Trump will not be participating in the first Republican presidential debate scheduled Wednesday in Milwaukee, Wisconsin as he claimed that he does not need to show people about how successful president he was as Americans already know him.

While writing on his social media platform Truth Social, Donald Trump said while underlining his days of the presidency: “I WILL THEREFORE NOT BE DOING THE DEBATES!”

The former president Trump noted the latest in a wave of polls showing him far, far out ahead of the Republican field, this one by CBS News published Sunday.

It said 62% of those polled for the survey would vote for him even though he has been indicted four times this year, including on charges he tried to subvert US democracy by scheming to overturn the 2020 election and stay in power despite his loss to Joe Biden.

The Republican bidder for White House’s closest contender in the CBS poll was Florida Governor Ron DeSantis at 16%. The rest of those in the field are polling in the single digits.

Trump wrote that DeSantis is “crashing like an ailing bird.”

“The public knows who I am [and] what a successful Presidency I had,” Trump said, citing issues including energy, border security and the military, and the economy.

The 77-year-old had been already saying about possibly skipping the debate in the midwestern city of Milwaukee, wary of sharing the limelight with lower-polling rivals.

The New York Times reported Friday that Trump had told aides he was planning to upstage his rivals by skipping the event, organised by Fox News, and instead sit for an online interview with one of Fox’s former hosts, Tucker Carlson.

Even in his absence, Trump will be ripe for broadsides from opponents over the four criminal and three civil trials he faces involving allegations before, during and after his scandal-plagued presidency.

“Obviously, his legal issues are affecting this race,” Fox News host Bret Baier, who will be moderating the debate, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

“All these candidates have been asked non-stop about what’s happening in courtrooms around the country. So he’ll be a part of this debate whether he’s there or not.”

Seven other candidates have qualified for the debate, including state governors DeSantis and Doug Burgum, former vice president Mike Pence, Trump’s UN ambassador Nikki Haley and South Carolina Senator Tim Scott.

While Trump dominates the field, polling well above his opponents, some allies worry that a no-show could give his rivals a chance to create a viral moment and gain momentum.


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