The likelihood of Donald Trump showing up to the first GOP debate was already slim to begin with. The former president has been at odds with Fox News and there’s been a growing consensus that he’s afraid of getting on the stage with Chris Christie. Trump’s closest challenger, Ron DeSantis, will also be there, but the Florida governor has continued to fall behind in the polls thanks to his flailing campaign, so his presence isn’t really an issue.
However, Trump has reportedly put a nail in the coffin for showing up to the debate. According to The New York Times, Trump will sit down for an interview with Tucker Carlson on the same night as the debate. The move is being called a “major affront both to the Republican National Committee and to Fox News” after each entity attempted to sweet talk Trump into attending the debate.
Via The New York Times:
The timing of the interview with Mr. Carlson remains unclear, but if it goes ahead as currently planned, the debate-night counterprogramming would serve as an act of open hostility.
The chairwoman of the R.N.C., Ronna McDaniel, has privately urged Mr. Trump to attend the debate, even traveling to his private club in Bedminster, N.J., last month to make her pitch in person.
Over on social media, Trump is getting absolutely roasted for the cowardly decision. The former president dominated the 2016 debates, and some users are suggesting that Trump now lacks the “confidence” to repeat that performance. There was also repeated use of the word “chickensh*t.”
You can see some of the reactions below:
If you don’t show up for the debates you shouldn’t be on the ballot, but this chickenshit party is scared to death of this loser.https://t.co/rhSPgIrrQu
— Chief Impact Officer BT (@back_ttys) August 18, 2023
This traitorous coward was never going to debate anyone. https://t.co/074DPzaOiu
— Peg (@HonestWeighman) August 18, 2023
Why participate in the political process when you can chat with a fellow insurrectionist instead? https://t.co/BgMyD4kHsx
— Tim O’Brien (@TimOBrien) August 18, 2023
So, Trump has chickened out on the first GOP and is running to his wittle fwiend Tucker Carlson to give an exclusive interview instead.
I can’t believe there are so many who still support this clown. Do you know anyone with integrity who does?
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) August 18, 2023
Well, they can’t exactly bring the debate to the jail can they? https://t.co/mPvZrLSynR
— VINCENT. (@VincentDahhling) August 18, 2023
Someone is scared of Chris Christie who is smarter, tougher & far more knowledgeable https://t.co/AnlGXtt1Jb
— Mia Farrow (@MiaFarrow) August 18, 2023
Trump is a coward. He is afraid to ever stand on the same debate stage with Ron DeSantis.
Tucker Carlson is enabling that cowardice by doing a competing interview during the debate…..and we all know Carlson won’t ask Trump a single tough question.
— Peter Henlein (@SwissWatchGuy) August 18, 2023
Hiding from the best stage he ever had, the one that made him a political star. He’s washed. Confidence gone https://t.co/8sO4T6EpqU
— hollywood falladelfian (@touchy1_) August 18, 2023
(Via The New York Times)