Former President Trump suggested Sunday that not only would he not take part in this week’s Republican primary debate, he might not take part in any of them, asserting that the public “knows who I am.”
It was reported last week that Trump would instead take part in a one-on-one interview with Tucker Carlson on Wednesday rather than join the debate against his fellow GOP primary candidates, which is set to be televised by Carlson’s former employer, Fox News.
On his Truth Social website, Trump pointed to what he said were “legendary” poll numbers from CBS News, then insisted, in all caps, “I WILL THEREFORE NOT BE DOING THE DEBATES!”
The CBS News/YouGov poll conducted August 16-18 found that among likely Republican primary voters, 62% said they would vote for Trump if they could vote in the Republican primary “today.” The second most popular GOP candidate, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, was 46 points behind at just 16%.
Further, 91% of those likely GOP primary voters said that the candidates should be making the case for themselves during their debates, while only 9% said they should make the case against Trump.
Wednesday’s debate is the first of the 2024 primary season. It’s set to take place just a little over a week after Trump was indicted on 13 criminal counts in Georgia, including racketeering, related to attempts to overturn that state’s 2020 Presidential election. The debate is also taking place just days before an August 25 deadline set by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis for Trump to “voluntarily surrender” or face an arrest warrant.
Amid four separate indictments handed down up by grand juries, including Georgia’s, Trump is facing a total of 91 separate criminal counts.
Besides Trump, at least eight other Republican Presidential candidates have qualified for Wednesday’s debate hosted by the Republican National Committee: Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota, former Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, DeSantis, former Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina, former Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, former Vice President Pence, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina.
The second RNC debate is scheduled for September 27.