Trump: Why Should I Bother Debating GOP Rivals?

Former president suggests he won't take part in primary matchups due to 'hostile networks'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 26, 2023 7:51 AM CDT
Trump: Why Should I Bother Debating GOP Rivals?
Former President Donald Trump speaks at the NRA's annual convention in Indianapolis, on April 14.   (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

If you're eager to see how GOP presidential candidates will fare in primary debates against the current frontrunner, you may have a long wait. That frontrunner, former President Trump, suggested Tuesday that going head-to-head with his Republican rivals might not be in the cards. "I see that everybody is talking about the Republican Debates, but nobody got my approval, or the approval of the Trump Campaign, before announcing them," the erstwhile commander in chief wrote on Truth Social.

Trump's reasoning behind a possible debate snub? "When you're leading by seemingly insurmountable numbers, and you have hostile Networks with angry, TRUMP & MAGA hating anchors asking the 'questions,' why subject yourself to being libeled and abused?" he continued. Trump also took issue with the venue for the second GOP debate, already penciled in for a date TBD at Southern California's Ronald Reagan Presidential Library—"the Chairman of which is, amazingly, Fred Ryan, Publisher of The Washington Post. NO!" Trump wrote. The first debate will take place in August in Milwaukee and be broadcast by Fox News, reports the New York Post.

Per the Hill, Trump has threatened to skip town halls and debates in the past, including 2020 face-offs with Joe Biden (the men ended up meeting twice). USA Today, however, notes that Trump has followed through on his threats on occasion, most famously ditching an early 2016 debate in Iowa because he claimed Fox News and moderator Megyn Kelly were biased against him. As for debates between the eventual Democratic and Republican nominees, the status of those are unclear: The RNC withdrew from the Commission on Presidential Debates last year, citing bias against Republican candidates. (Read more Donald Trump stories.)

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