Trump says he will not attend Republican primary debates

Former US President Donald Trump said the public already "knows who I am." The move comes as Trump faces numerous legal battles

Former US President Donald Trump (Photo: National Herald Archives)
Former US President Donald Trump (Photo: National Herald Archives)


Former US President Donald Trump on Sunday confirmed that he will not participate in the first televised Republican presidential primary debate which is scheduled for Wednesday.

"The public knows who I am & what a successful Presidency I had," Trump posted on Truth Social, a social media platform he co-founded.

"I will therefore not be doing the debates," he added as he mentioned his lead in opinion polls as evidence of his popularity among Republican voters ahead of the 2024 presidential elections.

Trump's absence in the party's primary debates was already speculated. For months, he had repeatedly said he saw little value in giving a chance to his party rivals — who will gather for the first time in Milwaukee on Wednesday — to attack him given his lead in polls.

What could Trump's absence from debates mean?

A CBS poll on Sunday showed that Trump was the preferred candidate for 62% of the Republican voters, beating his closest rival Florida Governor Ron DeSantis received 16% support. The other Republicans in the race each had less than 10% support.

Trump's sizable lead in the polls suggest that the former real estate mogul is still popular with the base of the Republican Party despite now being indicted four times.

DeSantis, former US Vice President Mike Pence and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley are expected to take part in the debate.

Trump's absence from this week's debate could allow his rivals such as DeSantis to gain ground.

Other candidates at the debate, such as former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, may attack Trump relentlessly throughout the event, with the former president not able to defend himself in real time since he is not onstage.

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Published: 21 Aug 2023, 8:57 AM