Trump Threatens to Skip Primary Debates – ‘Why Subject Yourself’ To Libel and Abuse

On Tuesday, former President Donald Trump signaled that he might skip the GOP primary debates this year, citing his sizable early polling lead and a “hostile” media bias. In a Truth Social post, Trump appeared to take issue with Republican Party leadership for scheduling the two debates without “the approval of the Trump Campaign,” with the first round expected to be held in August. His latest comments raise the unique possibility of a GOP primary debate absent the GOP frontrunner.

In February, the Republican National Committee announced plans to hold at least two primary debates–one scheduled for August on Fox News and another later at the Reagan Library in California. RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel, who recently won a fourth term with the assistance of Trump’s endorsement, told committee members that month,

“At this time, no other debates have been sanctioned, nor has the final criteria for the first debate been decided… We have a long way to go, but I am confident we will be able to showcase our eventual nominee in a world-class fashion.”

According to the announcement, the RNC is considering between 10 and 12 total primary debates for the 2024 election cycle.

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Trump, however, warned McDaniel and company on Tuesday not to get ahead of themselves.

“I see that everybody is talking about the Republican Debates, but nobody got my approval, or the approval of the Trump Campaign, before announcing them,” Trump remarked on his Truth Social page before citing his “insurmountable” poll numbers and questioning the RNC’s choice of venue.

“When you’re leading by seemingly insurmountable numbers, and you have hostile Networks with angry, TRUMP & MAGA hating anchors asking the ‘questions,’ why subject yourself to being libeled and abused? Also, the Second Debate is being held at the Reagan Library, the Chairman of which is, amazingly, Fred Ryan, Publisher of The Washington Post. NO!”

In a separate post, Trump continued to blast the decision to host the second debate at the Ronald Reagan Library, noting Washington Post publisher Fred Ryan’s position on the library’s board of trustees.

“Fred Ryan, Publisher and CEO of The Washington Post, has always tried to hide the fact that he’s also Chairman of the Reagan Library. He knew the reaction from Real Republicans, not the RINOS that don’t care, would be volatile. He’s also hiding it from his Liberal Friends.”

“President Ronald Reagan would not approve!” Trump added.

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Immediately afterward, several Trump allies echoed the former president’s complaints, suggesting that the debates would be “rigged” and advising that he stay far away.

Speaking to Charlie Kirk on Tuesday, former White House senior advisor Steve Bannon called the RNC’s plans “an insult to the president and an insult to MAGA.”

“Full stop, no debates, the only person he needs to debate is whoever the Democrat nominee is.”

“Trump is right!” said influencer Alex Bruesewitz.

“The debates will be totally RIGGED against Trump. Trump haters Neil Cavuto and Brett Baer “moderating” the first debate? What a joke!”

“They’d be just as bad as Chris Wallace was!” Bruesewitz added, referencing the first debate between Trump and Joe Biden in 2020.

While Trump’s decision to stay home would be a significant development, it would not be the first time the candidate has skipped a primary debate. In January 2016, Trump refused to attend a debate hosted by Megyn Kelly after unsuccessfully lobbying Fox News to remove her from the assignment. Later in March of that year, Trump again chose to skip, telling Fox” “I think we’ve had enough debate.”

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