Trump Says It Would Be 'Sort Of Foolish' To Go To The Republican Debate

 Authored by Frank Fang via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Former President Donald Trump questioned why he would want to take part in the Republican Party’s first primary debate, saying it could be “foolish” doing so given his sizable leads in polls over other presidential hopefuls.

Former President Donald J. Trump speaks during the Faith and Freedom Road to Majority conference at Hilton in Washington on June 24, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

In an interview with Breitbart published this week, Mr. Trump said he had not decided whether he would join the debate, which is to be hosted by Fox News on Aug. 23 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. According to the outlet, the interview was taped on July 27.

“I haven’t totally made a decision. I like the debates. I might be here because of the debates. I might have won against Hillary [Clinton] with the debates, and I might have gotten the nomination because of the debates,” Mr. Trump said.

“But when you’re leading by 50 and 60 points against these people, and you have people at zero, and 1 and 2—and then they’re going to be asking me hostile questions, and they probably won’t have much of an audience if I’m not in the debates according to what I read,” Mr. Trump continued. “If I’m not in the debates, then they’re not going to have a very big audience. It seems almost like it would be foolish to do them.”

According to the latest poll from Morning Consult—which surveyed 3,716 registered voters between July 28 and July 30—58 percent of the respondents said they would support Mr. Trump, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in a distant second with 15 percent of support.

Vivek Ramaswamy was in third with 9 percent of support, followed by former Vice President Mike Pence with 7 percent. None of the remaining Republican candidates picked up more than 3 percent of support.

Mr. Trump noted that he wouldn’t be the first to skip a debate since former President Ronald Reagan didn’t participate in one in 1980.

Furthermore, taking part in the debate would mean putting himself up against a “hostile network,” the former president added.

I feel it’s sort of foolish to be doing it,” Mr. Trump said. “I think it could be stupid—it could be a stupid thing to do.

“But I have not made up a decision. I don’t mind doing them. I like to do them—I enjoy them, actually, and I think they’re a good thing. But when you’re leading somebody by 50 or 60 points, I think doing it might be foolish.”

At a campaign rally in Erie, Pennsylvania, on July 29, Mr. Trump asked his supporters whether he should take part in the debate.

Should I get up there with 10 or 12 hostile people and a hostile network and be abused with terrible questions?” Mr. Trump asked. “Should I do the debate?”

The crowd responded with a chorus of “no’s.”

Two days after the campaign rally, Mr. Trump took to his Truth Social account, suggesting that the debate could be a contest to see who could be his running mate.

"Let them debate so I can see who I MIGHT consider for Vice President!" Mr. Trump wrote.

Mr. DeSantis, who is widely seen as Mr. Trump’s biggest challenger for the GOP presidential nomination, has said he will join the debate regardless of Mr. Trump’s decision. Last month, the governor called on the former president to join the debate.

“Nobody’s entitled to be nominated. You got to earn it. And I think he should show up and make his case and answer questions like the rest of us,” Mr. DeSantis told Newsmax.

Also, last month, Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, said it would be “a mistake” for Mr. Trump to skip the debate, saying that “not getting on the debate stage is just more of an opportunity for [President ] Joe Biden to continue to get his message out.”

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