Former President Donald Trump will skip next week’s GOP 2024 presidential primary debate and instead sit down for an interview with Tucker Carlson, The New York Times reported Friday.
Multiple sources close to Trump have said that the GOP presidential primary leader will not attend the debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, according to the NYT. He has long intimated his plans to avoid the first debate on the campaign trail. Trump, who is leading his Republican opponents by double digits in both national and early primary state polls, shared a lengthy statement on social media Thursday that concluded with “People know my Record, one of the BEST EVER, so why would I Debate?”
It was reported earlier this month that Fox News executives had dinner with Trump in an apparent attempt to convince him to join the debate. Per Republican National Committee 2024 debate rules, the former president would have had to sign a pledge to support whoever wins the GOP presidential nomination. Trump explained last week he wouldn’t want to sign it because there are “three or four people that I wouldn’t support for president.” The former president added, “So right there, there’s a problem, okay?”
Trump received heavy criticism for not attending The Family Leadership Summit in Iowa and “fireside chat” with Carlson in July. All other major campaign opponents — including second-place challenger Ron DeSantis — joined Carlson in Iowa for an interview.
Carlson, the NYT noted, has refused to stop his show from airing on Twitter despite legal notices from his former employer. This week, Carlson has released interviews with Democratic primary candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and GOP candidate Vivek Ramaswamy.
According to The Daily Mail, Carlson was also reportedly at Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey this week — sparking speculation.
Trump skipping a GOP debate on Fox News is not unprecedented. During his 2016 run, Trump opted not to join a debate in January hosted by the network.
So, his decision to forgo the RNC event is not necessarily surprising. What he is doing instead, however, could be enough to shift attention away from the event and steal the spotlight, if true. On Twitter, both men received praise and criticism for their potential plans.
“What a great move by Trump & by Tucker!” New England radio host Howie Carr tweeted. “Bleep the Fox RINO’s.”
What a great move by Trump & by Tucker!
Bleep the Fox RINO's.
Trump Plans to Skip G.O.P. Debate for Interview With Tucker Carlson https://t.co/rLM9l0iEHO
— Howie Carr (@HowieCarrShow) August 18, 2023
New York Times reporter Jonathan Swan, who shared a byline on the story, also tweeted, “To state the obvious: this would be a major affront to Fox News and to the R.N.C.”
To state the obvious: this would be a major affront to Fox News and to the R.N.C.
— Jonathan Swan (@jonathanvswan) August 18, 2023
Puck News journalist Tara Palmieri had similar reporting Thursday evening, claiming that both parties involved are “just working out logistics for the interview on the night of the debate.”
New York Times confirms what I had in my newsletter last night — that the Trump and Tucker are just working out logistics for the interview on the night of the debate, read here: https://t.co/pyfzpjseTY https://t.co/2RFT742Tuh
— Tara Palmeri (@tarapalmeri) August 18, 2023
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.