Donald Trump has announced that he will not take part in the upcoming Republican Party primary presidential debates, citing a CBS News poll that shows he has 62% support amongst party members as the reason for his decision.
The former president also pointed to the poll that shows Florida Governor Ron DeSantis at 16%, and other candidates in the low single digits, to explain why he is pulling out.
“I WILL THEREFORE NOT BE DOING THE DEBATES!” Trump said Sunday.
Trump confirms he won’t be doing any debates. (Plural.) pic.twitter.com/buTDl3fCni
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) August 20, 2023
His decision was met with obvious disapproval and surprise from other members of the GOP, most notably RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.
mcDaniel expressed her “hope that [former] President Trump will come” to the debates due to how important it is for Americans to hear from all the candidates.
DeSantis also spoke out against Trump’s decision, noting that the majority of his own personal attacks are focused on the Florida Governor himself. DeSantis then added that it was “cowardly” of Trump to refuse to participate in the debates.
“So, if you already had it in the bag, you would not worry about any other candidate,” DeSantis said. “I have been in races where I had it in the bag. I was not out there attacking people that I was 40 or 50 points ahead of. So, he owes it to people to go up there and debate.”
Former Governor Chris Christie was also highly critical on the decision, writing on social media: “Surprise, surprise … the guy who is out on bail from four jurisdictions and can’t defend his reprehensible conduct, is running scared and hiding from the debate stage. Trump — certified loser, verified coward.”
On the other hand, Former President Mike Penc said Sunday that Trump often makes up his mind at the last moment, and expressed his hope that Trump will show up.
Vivek Ramaswamy, who earlier this year had said he thought Trump would show, has now changed his stance, saying that he has no issue with Trump skipping the first few debates if he wants to.
It seems that despite the protests from other members of the GOP, Trump is determined to avoid participating in the debates. Only time will tell if he will actually show up or not.