Former President Donald Trump has decided to participate in the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential primary debates.
The obvious frontrunner will not be present, and you can take his word for it.
Trump announced in a Sunday Truth Social Post that he would not be attending the debate scheduled for Wednesday, or any of the subsequent debates.
As justification, the former president cited polls indicating his overwhelming lead in the race.
“New CBS POLL, just out, has me leading the field by ‘legendary’ numbers. … I WILL THEREFORE NOT BE DOING THE DEBATES!” Trump said.
He had previously questioned the possibility of attending the debates, but had not ruled out attendance entirely.
Trump confirms he won’t be doing any debates. (Plural.) pic.twitter.com/buTDl3fCni
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) August 20, 2023
Despite what appeared to be a definitive announcement, a former close associate of Trump has doubts.
During an appearance on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, former Vice President Mike Pence indicated that Trump might still attend the first debate on Wednesday in Milwaukee.
“You know, I served alongside the president for a long time, and one thing I realized about him is it’s not over till it’s over,” he said.
“So I’m actually still hoping he shows up,” Pence said.
During his historic 2016 campaign, Trump missed one of the Republican Party’s presidential debates after Fox News denied his request to remove then-Fox News presenter Megyn Kelly as moderator.
“I think she’s very biased and I don’t think she can treat me fairly,” he said. Kelly had previously asked him about his derogatory comments about women.
The CBS News poll cited by Trump in his announcement was the most recent in a series of polls demonstrating his commanding lead in the Republican primary.
In the RealClearPolitics average of polls, the former president leads the No. 2 candidate, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, by roughly 41 points.
Uncertain is the audience that this week’s Republican debate without Trump will attract.
Despite this, the former president plans to appear in alternative media at the same time as the debate.
The New York Times reports that Trump will participate in an online interview with conservative media personality Tucker Carlson during the campaign.
Monday morning, it was undetermined how many candidates will be on stage in Milwaukee on Wednesday.