Former President Donald J. Trump has decided to skip the first GOP presidential debate and he will instead, be interviewed by Tucker Carlson at the same time his rival contenders participate in the forum moderated by Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum on August 23, 2023.
President Joe Biden’s job approval ratings are lower now than Trump’s were at this stage in his presidency, and a whopping two-thirds of Republican primary voters say they stand behind the 2020 election loser, dismissing concerns about his electability in the wake of four criminal indictments and other legal woes.
In a potential rematch of the 2020 presidential election between Biden and Trump, registered voters were evenly split, with each candidate receiving 50% support.
Trump’s decision to skip the debate at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is considered a major affront to the Republican National Committee; to Fox News, which is hosting the event; and to Rupert Murdoch, the 92-year-old media mogul.
The arrangement also gives former Fox News host Carlson a chance to heap insult on his former employer, the network tailored to conservative viewers that canned him as host of its top-rated program.
The previously recorded interview with Carlson will be released at the same time the GOP debate begins, in order to drive viewers away from the spectacle and demonstrate that the fascist inmates have truly seized control over the conservative asylum.
Carlson claims his firing in April was a condition of the deal to resolve the Dominion Voting Systems defamation case against Fox News, on top of the $787.5 million settlement that resulted from the network’s broadcast of Trump’s lies about fraud in the 2020 election.
Baier is Fox News’ chief political anchor and executive editor of Special Report with Bret Baier. MacCallum is the executive editor of and anchors The Story with Martha MacCallum.
People close to the former president have for months said that he was unlikely to participate in the first two Republican debates, which are sponsored by the Republican National Committee.
“They agreed to take me off the air, my show off the air, as a condition of the Dominion settlement,” said Carlson.
The Republican primary debate without Trump will be like watching paint dry if any audience tunes in at all, but the candidate’s refusal to participate was widely anticipated.
On April 25, Trump raised uncertainty about his participation in the debates, saying on Truth Social he had not been consulted about them, did not want to be defamed by his rivals, and felt that given his large lead according to polls it was unnecessary for him to appear alongside lesser candidates.
The Republican National Committee has set a deadline of tomorrow—Monday, Aug. 21—for candidates to meet the criteria established in May.
To qualify, candidates must reach one percent support in several polls and draw contributions from at least 40,000 donors, who must include 200 individuals from 20 different states. The candidates must also sign a ‘loyalty pledge’ agreeing to support whichever nominee the party eventually selects.
Fox News has been losing its audience to other far-right news outlets.
As of Saturday afternoon, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former United Nations ambassador Nimarata Nikki Haley, South Carolina’s U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, pharmaceutical and hedge fund billionaire Vivek Ramaswamy, former vice president Mike Pence and former New Jersey governor Chris Christie had qualified for the GOP debate.
A memo from the super PAC Never Back Down, leaked to The New York Times, advised DeSantis to “hammer” Ramaswamy, defend Trump if he is attacked by Christie, and suggested tips about how to attack Biden and the media.