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One of Donald Trump’s top advisers has provided an update regarding the 45th president’s participation in the upcoming 2024 Republican primary debates.
In a Tuesday interview with The Hill on NewsNation, Jason Miller, said, “At the moment, President Trump has indicated that he’s unlikely to participate, at least in the first two debates. It really wouldn’t make much sense for him to go and debate right now with a bunch of folks who are down at three, four, and five percent.”
“So ultimately, President Trump will make a decision as we get closer,” he concluded. “He has not said anything definitive, one way or the other. I’m not expecting him to participate, though.”
Trump’s closest competitor for the nomination is Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, but he’s trailing by double digits, according to most polls. The rest of the GOP field all polls in single digits.
Still, DeSantis said last week he plans to be at the debates regardless of who else does or does not show up.
“I’ll be there regardless. I hope everybody who’s eligible comes. I think it’s an important part of the process and I look forward to being able to be on the stage and introducing our candidacy and our vision and our leadership to a wide audience,” DeSantis said Thursday on “Fox News Tonight.”
The scheduled date for the first GOP debate is Aug. 23. Fox News is hosting it in Milwaukee, Wis.
Fox News noted:
Trump, who’s the commanding front-runner in the latest GOP presidential primary polls as he makes his third straight White House run, has indicated both publicly and privately that he may skip the debate, due in part to his large lead over the rest of the field of Republican 2024 contenders.
But Trump campaign officials say the former president has yet to make any final decision on his participation in the debate. Trump’s aides have also been looking into options for an alternative event should the former president skip the debate.
The Republican National Committee is organizing all of the debates. The RNC has implemented certain criteria for candidates to qualify for the stage, including meeting both high donor thresholds and polling thresholds.
Officials from both the Trump and DeSantis camps, as well as the presidential campaigns of former ambassador and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, and biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, have stated that they have successfully met the required thresholds.
Trump’s suggestion that he may skip at least the first debate did not sit well with other Republican contenders, including former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who lashed out at the former president over the issue last month.
During an interview on Fox & Friends, host Brian Kilmeade brought in Christie, who was beamed in from a diner in New Hampshire and saw a clip from Trump’s recent interview with Bret Baier. Trump told Baier in the interview that he didn’t feel the need to participate in the primary debates because his poll numbers were so far ahead of the other Republican candidates.
Trump said, “Christie is, I guess, 1% or less. Many of them, Nikki Haley’s is a 2%. So why would I allow people at one and 2% and 0% to be hitting me with questions on? You know, I don’t think it’s fair.”
Kilmeade asked Christie to respond.
“Oh, it’s not fair, Brian. It’s not fair.” Christie taunted the former president, “poor Donald Trump,” likely knowing full well that the former president was more than likely watching Fox & Friends while he was speaking.
Christie then mocked Trump as “the guy who wants to be president of the United States, the guy who says that he’s the toughest person to lead this country, doesn’t want to get up in front of Republican primary voters and defend his record and make a case for the future of America.”