Donald Trump will skip the final GOP primary debate, appearing instead on Fox News for a town hall event.
The next GOP debate is scheduled for Wednesday, January 10, in Des Moines, Iowa – just five days before the Republican caucuses are held in the state.
While that debate is airing on CNN, Trump’s town hall with Fox News will be airing simultaneously. That event will be hosted by anchors Martha MacCallum and Bret Baier.
As he has for each of the GOP primary debates held thus far, Trump has decided that not attending would be in his best interest. He has said that since he has such a large lead in polls, he would be doing a disservice to himself by appearing on stage with his competitors – all of whom would be set to benefit by attacking him.
In other words, the former president feels as though he has nothing to gain from appearing at the GOP primary debates.
He does realize, though, that it’s important to attract the attention of voters on those nights, which is why he’s opted for an alternative event that has been held at the same time as all the previous debates – just as this last one will.
Fox News said the town hall with Trump “will focus on the leading issues facing voters ahead of the Iowa Caucus.”
The fact that Trump has agreed to appear on Fox News is somewhat of a surprise, as he’s attacked the conservative network over the last few months. In fact, he’s accused the media outlet of providing unfair coverage to him, while trying to boost the status of his political rivals in the GOP.
The first two GOP primary debates aired on Fox and Fox Business, which only added fuel to the fire when Trump decided to skip them. At the time, he said his large lead in polls was only one reason for his decision to skip. The “hostile” relationship that he had with Fox News was the other main reason, he said.
While the first GOP primary debate was being held, an online interview that Trump gave to former Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson aired on his social media page on the platform now called X – formerly Twitter.
For other primary debates, Trump has participated in private fundraisers in Florida, seeking to boost his profile and raise money at the same time.
Last summer, Trump gave a wide-ranging interview to Baier, which caused a rift between the two. During the interview, Baier questioned the former president on his false election fraud claims from the 2020 election, and pressed Trump on the various legal cases he was facing ahead of the upcoming election.
Because of that, many people were surprised to hear that Trump had agreed to host a town hall event with Baier.
To air the town hall event, Fox will be bumping the prime-time slot that Sean Hannity typically occupies.