Donald Trump will not be attending the first GOP Primary Debate on August 23rd. This was expected. Maggie Haberman of The New York Times, a far-left reporter who has had a direct line to the former President for years, made the announcement in a recent report.
Trump is reportedly going to sit down with Tucker Carlson for an interview in order to upstage and overshadow the candidates that do appear to face primary voters.
According to people familiar with the situation, former President Donald J. Trump will overshadow the first Republican Primary Debate on Wednesday by doing an online interview on Fox News’s website with Tucker Carlson.
According to two people who were briefed about the issue, in the last 24 hours Mr. Trump told close friends that he had made up his mind. He will not attend the debate in Milwaukee.
If a candidate is not the incumbent president, then I believe they have a duty to their voters and to their party to come and debate. No Republican politician is perfect. Everyone running for office has some things to explain and answer, including what they would do differently in the future. This type of debate has no downside. It can sharpen a candidate’s message for the general elections by allowing him to refine it outside the safe confines of conservative circles.
Trump will do whatever he wants. I can understand this, and because of his large lead in national polls, he feels that it is not worth the risks to attend. But that doesn’t mean the RNC can be too accommodating with candidates who refuse to participate in the process.
Another report claims that RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel personally asked Rep. Byron Donalds to attend the debate to defend the former President on different panels.
JUST IN: Congressman @ByronDonalds to be in attendance and participate in panel discussions at the RNC GOP Primary debate in Milwaukee next week
— Brendon Leslie (@BrendonLeslie) August 17, 2023
This feels like a way too obvious attempt to manipulate the process. Has any other candidate been offered the opportunity to not attend and not sign the pledge of loyalty but still be present at the event? This is the type of special treatment I (and other Trump supporters) would not have accepted in 2016 if it was done to someone like Jeb bush.
Here’s an example. It doesn’t matter that Trump benefits from it.
The RNC must also respond to this. Will Trump be able to choose which debates he attends? Will the RNC insist that all debates be attended in order to take part? The RNC should have defined these things long before the middle of August. While it is too late to change anything, I believe that voters would value debate participation more than a loyalty pledge, which has no meaning and cannot be enforced.
Instead of a meaningless loyalty pledge the RNC should require a candidate to participate in all party-sanctioned debates to be eligible for nomination at the convention in Milwaukee.
— Gordon Ackley (@GordonAckleyVI) August 18, 2023
The former president is entitled to his opinion. However, the RNC shouldn’t be the one to put its foot on the scales by allowing a candidate to undermine the debates and also push their narrative at them. Either you show up, or you don’t. McDaniel should maintain impartiality throughout the process, even though she is a Trump supporter. She is not doing this, and that’s another reason why she shouldn’t have been reelected in the first place.