Donald Trump Refuses to Debate GOP Rivals: Is That a Mistake? Former US President Donald Trump is leveraging his significant lead in the polls as he paves the way for his potential 2024 election bid.
Trump has opted out of Wednesday night’s debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, asserting that giving his Republican rivals a platform to attack him is unnecessary, given his commanding position in national polls.
According to a recent CBS poll, Trump has secured a staggering 62 percent of Republican voter support, leaving his closest contender, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, trailing at just 16 percent. Other candidates in the Republican primary race are struggling to gain traction, with most receiving less than 10 percent support in the same poll. However, an Emerson College poll over the weekend showed DeSantis tied at 10 percent with biotechnology entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.
Taking to his social media app, Truth Social, Trump declared, “The public knows who I am & what a successful presidency I had. I will therefore not be doing the debates.” As of now, the Trump campaign has not provided a response regarding whether the former president plans to participate in any future Republican debates.
A deliberate snub?
In a recent interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, which is set to be released online on Wednesday, Trump elaborated on his decision. The specific platform for the interview’s release remains undisclosed.
Since June 2023 Carlson has hosted his own show Tucker on Twitter, and posted to the eponymous social network.
The Guardian has suggested Trump’s debate snub in favor of Carlson is a deliberate attempt to disadvantage Fox News, given their recent criticism of his campaign,
There are reports he is seeking funds to launch a new media company.
Trump’s absence from this week’s debate could thrust Governor DeSantis into the spotlight as other candidates seek to establish themselves as the primary alternative to the former president.
‘You Have to Show Up’
Andrew Romeo, spokesperson for the Ron DeSantis campaign, emphasized that no one, including Donald Trump, is entitled to the nomination. “You have to show up and earn it,” Romeo stated on X, previously known as Twitter.
The most recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, released earlier this month, indicated that Trump holds a substantial 47 percent of the Republican vote nationwide, while DeSantis has seen a six-percentage-point drop since July, now polling at 13 percent. None of the other candidates slated to participate in the debate have managed to break out of single digits, except as noted in the latest Emerson poll.
In a separate development, Donald Trump faces a Friday deadline to voluntarily surrender in Fulton County, Georgia, after being charged last week in a fourth criminal indictment. The indictment alleges an orchestrated scheme aimed at overturning his 2020 election loss to Joe Biden.
In some ways Trump’s stubbornness is nothing new in American politics.
Ahead of the 2020 election, then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she did not think Joe Biden should debate then President Donald Trump because the latter “doesn’t tell the truth.”
It remains to be seen whether this latest maverick room with give other GOP candidates more room to make their mark, or simply further fuel the Trump train.
Georgia Gilholy is a journalist based in the United Kingdom who has been published in Newsweek, The Times of Israel, and the Spectator. Gilholy writes about international politics, culture, and education.
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