The New York Times reports that in private comments to aides and confidants, Donald J. Trump has indicated he does not want to breathe life into his Republican challengers by engaging in debates with them.
Last month, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel, announced that Fox News would host the first G.O.P. primary debate in Milwaukee in August. The second debate will be held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Southern California.
Bret Baier will serve as narrator in the first debate. Not only is that possibly a problem, but Fox is also the problem. Fox ignores everything Donald Trump, although he’s a leading candidate. That might be entering into the former president’s decision.
If Donald Trump debates on Fox, it means 24 million viewers.
“I’m up by too many points,” one associate who spoke with Mr. Trump recalled him saying.
One adviser stressed that the situation was fluid, particularly given how early it remains in the 2024 race, and Mr. DeSantis is not yet a declared candidate.
Mr. Trump has long credited the debates in the 2016 campaign, both in the primary and the general election, for his victories. However, the 2020 debates didn’t go well, in large.
“For Mr. Trump, denying his low-polling rivals access to a massive television audience is part of his calculations in potentially skipping the debates, according to the people who have discussed the matter with him. In 2015, Fox News drew an audience of 24 million for the first primary debate of the 2016 campaign. It was, at the time, the biggest viewership for a nonsports event in cable television history,” The Times writes.
The Times writes that the race will likely be between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.
President Biden. The president has cast himself as a protector of democracy and a stabilizing force after the upheaval of the Trump administration. Biden is running for re-election as the oldest person ever to hold the presidency, a subject of concern among many Democrats, though the party has publicly set aside those worries and rallied around him.
Donald Trump. The former president is running to retake the office he lost in 2020. Though somewhat diminished in influence within the Republican Party — and facing several legal investigations — he retains a large and committed base of supporters, and he could be aided in the primary by multiple challengers splitting a limited anti-Trump vote.
So far, all the Republican candidates are non-starters compared with DJT, although Ron DeSantis has potential. As for Democrats, Robert Kennedy is being ignored and censored, just like DJT.