Former President Donald Trump revealed he is considering passing on the two announced Republican debates for the party’s 2024 presidential primary candidates.
With his strong showing in current polls, he suggested that he may not need to expose himself to the rigors of an unscripted debate with potentially hostile questions. Trump noted that his approval nor that of his campaign was sought before the events were announced.
Steve Bannon says any planned GOP primary debates for 2024 are “an insult to the president (Trump) and an insult to MAGA – full stop, no debates.” pic.twitter.com/7yYysmNtak
— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) April 25, 2023
As he observed on Truth Social, “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?”
Republican officials have an August debate in Milwaukee on the calendar as well as a second debate to be held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California.
This is hardly the former president’s first rodeo, and it’s not the first time he threatened to withhold his presence from debates.
Early in Trump’s 2016 run for the GOP bid, he threatened to bypass a primary debate. The forum was hosted by Fox News, and he felt that then-anchor Megyn Kelly was biased towards him over questions she raised at an earlier debate.
Then in March 2016 he repeated the threat to skip a town hall event hosted by CNN. Quite understandably, he cited his belief that the outlet would actively seek to undermine his candidacy.
Trump scored big in the Republican primary debates that year, pushing back his rivals before going on to win the GOP nomination to face Democrat Hillary Clinton. But the 2020 debates were more of a minefield, and he argued that moderators were biased against his candidacy.
Before that election cycle the incumbent president said he might bypass a debate hosted by Fox News because of issues with the network’s reporting on his presidency.
Trump also took exception with debate organizers for proposing rules to block interruptions.
And before the debates between himself and Democratic nominee Joe Biden, then-president Trump voiced his displeasure with the Presidential Debate Commission.
In the case of the second forthcoming GOP debate at the Reagan library, the former president noted that the chairman of the facility’s board of trustees is Fred Ryan. He is the publisher of the notably leftist Washington Post.