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Blaze Media announced this week that former Fox News host Tucker Carlson will host the first Republican presidential forum of the 2024 primary race this week and there was one name noticeably absent from the list.
“Blaze Media is teaming up with THE FAMiLY LEADER to bring you the first presidential forum of the 2024 Republican Primary season, hosted by Tucker Carlson,” the media company said in a statement. “We’ll be live streaming this event all day Friday, July 14th on BlazeTV and the BlazeTV YouTube channel.”
The Friday event will feature numerous current and former elected leaders who are running for president — including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, and Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) — as well as some other candidates who are lower in the polls.
Bob Vander Plaats — who is an influential evangelical leader in the state of Iowa and the CEO of The FAMiLY Leader, the organization hosting the event — said in a tweet: “I learned last night that @realDonaldTrump will NOT attend our Leadership Summit this Friday.”
A spokesperson for Trump said the former president would not be attending because of a “scheduling conflict” involving a speech Trump is supposed to give at the Turning Point Action conference, which is near Mar-a-Lago, on Saturday or Sunday.
The news comes after Trump attacked popular Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds on social media this week, a key Republican figure who could have a significant impact on who ends up winning the state in January.
“I opened up the Governor position for Kim Reynolds, & when she fell behind, I ENDORSED her, did big Rallies, & she won,” Trump claimed in a post. “Now, she wants to remain ‘NEUTRAL.’ I don’t invite her to events!”
Trump visited Iowa last Friday; Reynolds did not attend, and an aide to Reynolds reportedly said she was not invited. Although Reynolds has publicly praised DeSantis, Trump’s chief rival for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, she has not yet endorsed any candidate.
The New York Times noted in a report this week that “there is no politician in Iowa with greater sway than Ms. Reynolds, 63, who has overseen her party’s swelling state legislative majorities with an approval rating among Republicans near 90 percent.”