Trump to Opt-Out of GOP Debate for Interview with Tucker Carlson

Former President Donald J. Trump has chosen to overshadow the first Republican primary debate by engaging in an online interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Trump to Opt-Out of GOP Debate for Interview with Tucker

Over the past 24 hours, Trump has reportedly informed close associates of his decision to skip the debate in Milwaukee, leaving room for possible changes. A cryptic post on his website, Truth Social, hinted at his wavering intentions, mentioning his strong poll position and stating, “Reagan didn’t do it, and neither did others. People know my Record, one of the BEST EVER, so why would I Debate?”

Trump to Opt-Out of GOP Debate for Interview with Tucker

Trump’s decision not to participate in the initial presidential nominating contest debate is a significant affront to both the Republican National Committee (R.N.C.) and Fox News, the event’s host. Although the exact timing and platform for the interview with Carlson are uncertain, it is clear that the decision is aimed at counterprogramming during the debate night.

Ronna McDaniel, Chairwoman of the R.N.C., personally visited Trump’s New Jersey club in an effort to persuade him to attend the debate. Meanwhile, Fox News has been caught in a public clash involving Trump and Carlson, who remains on contract with the network but is off the air. Despite Fox’s appeals, Trump’s hostility towards the network’s executives and its chairman, Rupert Murdoch, has been evident.

Trump to Opt-Out of GOP Debate for Interview with Tucker

The Trump campaign’s communication with Carlson and the potential for counterprogramming has been previously reported by various news outlets. Neither the Trump campaign, the R.N.C., nor Fox News immediately provided comments. Trump’s decision follows his fourth criminal indictment, stemming from accusations of criminal conspiracy to subvert the transfer of power in Georgia after the 2020 election loss.

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