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Trump May Counter First GOP Debate And Do Interview With Tucker Carlson: Report

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Former President Donald Trump has suggested that he may sit down for a one-on-one interview with Tucker Carlson on the same night as the first Republican primary debate, which is set to take place on August 23.

In the crowded Republican field, seven candidates have so far fulfilled the prerequisites for entry, including fundraising requirements of 40,000 unique donors, with at least 200 unique contributors from 20 or more states and territories. Additionally, candidates must score higher than 1% in at least two national polls.

In addition to Trump, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, Senator Tim Scott, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, former Vice President Mike Pence, and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie have qualified for the first debate.

A new report from Vanity Fair claimed Trump is planning to counterprogram the GOP primary debate by appearing on Carlson’s popular Twitter show.

“The question, of course, is how a ratings-obsessed Trump would counterprogram a prime-time Fox debate that is sure to draw a significant cable news audience and feature such 2024 challengers as Ron DeSantis. One idea Trump is mulling is to sit for an interview with Tucker Carlson on his Twitter show at the same time as the debate, two sources briefed on the discussions said. According to one source, Trump recently reached out to Carlson and asked if Carlson would do the interview, but no decisions have been made,” Vanity Fair reported.

The outlet added:

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A Trump-Tucker Twitter show—say that three times fast!—could benefit both Trump and Carlson. For Trump, who is staring down a probable second federal indictment—courtesy of special counsel Jack Smith’s January 6 probe—Carlson would likely be a much friendlier interviewer than Fox’s chosen debate moderators, Bret Baier, and Martha MacCallum.

For Carlson, landing a Trump interview on the night of a Fox debate would demonstrate his growing conservative media power as he reportedly plans to launch his own streaming-based company. According to the source, investors have already told the ex-Fox anchor that they would contribute $100 million to his venture. Carlson and his business partner, Daily Caller co-founder Neil Patel, are currently reviewing trademarks to find an available name for the company, the source said.

Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel issued a warning of sorts to Trump last week regarding his reported intention to skip the first GOP presidential debate next month.

In an appearance on Fox News, McDaniel said she believes it’ll be a “mistake” on his part if he doesn’t show up.

McDaniel was responding to previous reports that Trump will likely opt out of the first debate, which will be hosted by Fox and take place in Milwaukee, Wis. He has suggested that he will hold his own event simultaneously while also suggesting he would sit out the second debate as well.

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In a wide-ranging interview with Fox News host Maria Bartiromo last week, the former president gave his reasons for not wanting to enter the debate stage against his other primary opponents.

“I want to begin with the state of play of this election, with now the election over a year away and the first GOP primary debate a month or so away. Will you be on that stage? Are you participating in the upcoming debate?” the host said.

“Well, it’s a — quite an easy question normally. Ronald Reagan didn’t do it, and a lot of other people didn’t do it. When you have a big lead, you don’t do it,” the former president said.

“And we have a lead of 50 and 60 points in some cases, and some of these people are at zero,” he added.

“And so you’re leading people by 50 and 60 points, and you say, why would you be doing a debate? It’s not — it’s actually not fair. Why would you let somebody that’s at zero or at one or two or three be popping you with questions?” Trump noted further.

“Well, I mean, do you see any risk that, if you don’t show up, Ron DeSantis has a good night, and it cuts into your lead?” the host said.

“Or somebody else has a good night and cuts into his lead because that’s what’s happening. He’s going down, and a couple of them are going up,” Trump said in response.

“I think Vivek has done a very good job, frankly. I think some others have done a good job. So I haven’t really made up my mind,” he added, referencing fellow GOP candidate and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.

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