According to former White House aide Kellyanne Conway, former President Donald Trump will likely be present at the first Republican presidential debate next month.
Conway, who helped manage Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, stated that despite Trump’s public declarations that he may avoid the debate, she expects that he will not be able to pass up the opportunity to spar with his opponents on stage.
“If I were you, I would keep that center podium warm because maybe he’ll make the announcement the day of,” Conway said during a Fox News interview Monday, according to the Washington Times. “You just never know.”
Former Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway suggested that the former president may participate in the first Republican presidential primary debate but will likely “keep everybody in suspense” in the lead-up. https://t.co/ORJqXSFe31
— The Hill (@thehill) July 25, 2023
Conway summarized the repercussions of Trump’s participation in the debate.
“On the one hand, he’s acting like a front-runner. He’s way ahead. What does he have to gain by going?” she said.
“On the other hand, that’s a natural habitat for him,” she continued.
Conway noted that Trump’s first campaign debate in August 2015 propelled him to the front of the congested GOP field.
“He got center stage, he never lost it, became the nominee and indeed the president,” she said.
Conway added her preference.
“I hope he goes,” she said, according to Mediaite.
Trump is among the few candidates who have qualified for the Fox News-televised debate on August 23 in Milwaukee.
Fox News reports that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie have also qualified.
CBS reports that on Tuesday, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum announced that he has also qualified.
Christie is asked about Trump skipping debates: “Makes my life even better, because then I won’t have to talk over him. He loves to interrupt everybody. I’m going to talk about Trump and his record whether he’s on the stage or not.” pic.twitter.com/RF9nV5Jhaq
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) July 25, 2023
According to the Washington Times, Christie suggested that Trump attend.
“We’re going to go in there, and he should be on that stage because he owes it to the Republican Party voters to get on the stage, defend his record and talk about his vision for the future,” he said.