Former President Trump confirmed Sunday that he would not be taking part in the first Republican presidential debate next week, leaving open the possibility of skipping future primary debates, citing his sizable lead in national polls as the main reason.
In a post on Truth Social, Trump quoted a CBS News poll The study, released earlier Sunday, showed he was 46 percentage points ahead of the next closest candidate.
“The public knows who I am and what a successful presidency I’ve had, with energy independence, strong borders and military, the biggest tax and regulation cuts ever, no inflation, the strongest economy in history and much more,” Trump wrote . “I WILL THEREFORE NOT HOST THE DEBATE!”
Trump’s announcement, which ended months of speculation about whether he would attend, comes days later it was reported that the former president planned to interview former Fox News host Tucker Carlson instead of attending Wednesday’s debate in Milwaukee.
The former president has hinted for months that he would likely skip at least the first two primary debates, asking in speeches at his rallies and in posts on social media why he should participate given his strong lead in the polls.
Trump also criticized Fox News for being the network that aired the first debate, as well as former Washington Post editor Fred Ryan’s connection to the Reagan Library in California, which airs the second debate. The second debate is to take place took place on September 27thmoderated by Fox Business.
A key indicator that Trump had no intention of going to the first debate was his decision last week to do so Do not sign the pledge of allegiance The Republican National Committee requires each qualified candidate to pledge to support the Republican nominee. He said at the time that he would announce this week whether he would take part in the debate, adding that he had made his decision.
“I wouldn’t sign the promise. Why should I sign a promise when there are people I wouldn’t have? I didn’t have certain people as someone I would support,” Trump told Newsmax.
He suggested first that he could skip the first two GOP debates in a Truth Social post in April.
“When you lead by seemingly insurmountable numbers and have hostile networks of angry, TRUMP & MAGA-hating moderators asking ‘questions,’ why expose yourself to slander and abuse?” he said at the time.
Trump recently received a chorus of “no” answers when he asked participants at a rally in Erie, Pennsylvania late last month if he should join the debate. He again mentioned his huge lead in the polls and that most of his contenders for the Republican nomination are currently in the low single digits.
Several of the other candidates in the GOP field had previously urged Trump to participate in the debate, including his closest opponent, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. He said last month that Trump must “come in and do it.”
Trump’s unwillingness to endorse the eventual candidate is reminiscent of a Republican primary debate in 2015, when he was the only candidate not to agree to endorse the eventual candidate. The former president later signed a pledge promising to support whoever the party nominated.