Former President Donald Trump is going to skip the first Republican presidential debate, according to a new report from the New York Times.
Not only is Trump going to skip the debate, but, according to the Times, Trump, instead, is going to do an interview with Tucker Carlson.
Per the Times:
Former President Donald J. Trump plans to upstage the first Republican primary debate on Wednesday by sitting for an online interview with the former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, according to multiple people briefed on the matter.
As the Times says, Trump's decision "is a major affront both to the Republican National Committee and to Fox News."
For a long time now, there has been much speculation about whether Trump is going to participate in the first GOP debate, which is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023, and which will be hosted by Fox.
The speculation began when Trump suggested that he was thinking about skipping the debate because he has such a massive lead in the polls over the Republican field. Real Clear Politics currently has Trump up 40.5 percentage points over the second-place Republican, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).
Trump, though - as the speculation continued - never said anything definite on the matter. Instead, he watched as commentators and supporters debated the issue.
Now, according to the Times report, Trump has made up his mind.
"In the past 24 hours, Mr. Trump has told people close to him that he has made up his mind and will skip the debate in Milwaukee, according to two of the people briefed on the matter," the Times reports.
On Thursday, Trump released a message on Truth Social in which he explained why it is that he will not be attending the Republican Party's first presidential debate.
"Many people are asking whether or not I will be doing the DEBATES. ALL AMERICANS have been clamoring for a President of extremely High Intelligence," Trump wrote.
The former president continued:
As everyone is aware, my Poll numbers, over a “wonderful” field of Republican candidates, are extraordinary. In fact, I am leading the runner up, whoever that may now be, by more than 50 Points. Reagan didn’t do it, and neither did others. People know my Record, one of the BEST EVER, so why would I Debate? I’M YOUR MAN. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!
Time will tell whether Trump is making the right decision here.
In the meantime, it will be interesting to see what gets more viewers: Fox's hosting of the debate or Carlson's interview with Trump. We'll see.