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Waste of Time? Donald Trump Wants the GOP Debates to End

Chris LaCivita, a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, told Politico the night of the debate that the RNC should put an end to such debates. 

Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C. By Gage Skidmore.
Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C.

There have been two Republican primary presidential debates in this cycle, the second of which was held Wednesday night. Frontrunner, former President Donald Trump, did not participate in either debate and if observers are hoping that Trump might debate his rivals, that’s looking increasingly unlikely. 

Chris LaCivita, a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, told Politico the night of the debate that the RNC should put an end to such debates. 

The spokesman called the debate “as boring and inconsequential as the first debate,” and that “nothing that was said will change the dynamics of the primary contest being dominated by President Trump. 

“The RNC should immediately put an end to any further primary debates so we can train our fire on Crooked Joe Biden and quit wasting time and money that could be going to evicting Biden from the White House,” he added. 

Debating the Debate

The next debate is not officially scheduled but is expected to take place in November. Trump has been open about choosing not to debate because he’s so far ahead in the polls.

The Republican National Committee put a system in place to avoid the mess that took place when Trump first ran in 2016, in which candidates are required to pledge to support the eventual nominee in order to participate in debates. However, Trump has instead opted out of the entire process, to little effect on his campaign fortunes. 

Meanwhile, in the debate itself on Wednesday night it appeared the moderators had little control of the debate. Candidates continued talking throughout the moderators’ pleas to get them to stop, while at one point, candidates were asked to name a candidate to “vote off the island,” and all of them refused to do so. 

There were some shots at Trump, including Gov. Chris Christie setting up a long punchline in which he referred to Trump as “Donald Duck,” because he ducked the debate. One got the impression that Christie’s main motivation for running for president was the prospect of getting to debate Trump in person, and because that didn’t happen, he decided to argue against Trump into the camera instead. 

Gov. Ron DeSantis took a less memorable shot at Trump, saying on stage “You know who else is missing in action? Donald Trump is missing in action … he should be on this stage tonight. He owes it to you to defend his record.”

Trump’s Counter-Offensive

“The frequently messy, hard-to-track crosstalk could have led many viewers to tune out entirely,” CNN said of the debate. And while speaking in Michigan, which he did in lieu of debating, Trump implied that he will not consider any of the current Presidential candidates as his Vice Presidential nominee. 

The Biden-Harris campaign, meanwhile, sent out scathing emails to the press about both Trump’s speech and the GOP debate. 

“Donald Trump’s low-energy, incoherent ‘speech’ at a non-union factory in Michigan was a pathetic, recycled attempt to feign support for working Americans. Americans have seen him try this before and they aren’t buying it,” the campaign said of Trump’s Michigan appearance, which despite some media reports, was not a speech to “striking workers.” 

“They know who Donald Trump really is: a billionaire charlatan running on empty words, broken promises, and lost jobs. Under Trump, the ultra-wealthy and big corporations got richer, and American families paid the price. He left office with fewer jobs than when he entered. He created incentives for companies to ship manufacturing overseas. And, he let China get ahead in the race to the future.”

In another email, the campaign ripped the economic ideas shared by the GOP candidates. 

“Before our very eyes, the most extreme slate of presidential candidates in history are embracing a MAGAnomics agenda that would wreck the American economy and devastate working families,” the statement said. “Under MAGAnomics, the super wealthy and corporations win. Middle class families lose. Big pharma wins. America’s seniors lose. It’s fitting to watch this same, unpopular trickle-down playbook of more tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, shipping jobs overseas, and higher costs for families center stage at the Reagan Library. MAGAnomics only works for the rich and powerful, while the rest of us get left behind.” 

Author Expertise and Experience:

Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Stephen has authored thousands of articles over the years that focus on politics, technology, and the economy for over a decade. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter) at @StephenSilver, and subscribe to his Substack newsletter.

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Stephen Silver is a journalist, essayist, and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review, and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.