The Associated Press (AP) is reporting that real estate tycoon Donald J. Trump will not attend Fox News’ prime-time Republican debate on Thursday. This follows a dispute where Trump requested that Fox remove moderator Megyn Kelly from the event, which the network refused to do. AP announced on Twitter at 4:16 PM:
THE LATEST: Campaign manager says Donald Trump will skip Thursday’s GOP debate. https://t.co/gDNCfp79Qa
— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) January 27, 2016
According to CNN, Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, told reporters The Donald will “definitely” skip the debate, and “it’s not under negotiation.” Bullish, Trump reportedly asked: “Let’s see how much money Fox is going to make on the debate without me, OK?” Trump ran a poll starting at 1 PM Thursday asking his followers if he should participate in the debate. As of 7:50 PM Thursday, there were more than 40,000 votes, and only 52 percent of respondents said “Yes.”
Earlier this week, Trump threatened to boycott Thursday’s debate if Fox News did not remove Kelly from the moderating team. He alleged that Kelly is “biased” against him. The spat between Trump and Kelly goes back to last August, when The Donald indelicately said Kelly had “blood coming out of her eyes, coming out of her…whatever.” Roger Ailes, head of Fox News, stood by Kelly. “Megyn Kelly is an excellent journalist, and the entire network stands behind her,” Ailes told The Fix on Tuesday. “She will absolutely be on the debate stage on Thursday night.”
Also on Tuesday, Fox released the roster of candidates for the prime-time debate at 9 PM Eastern Time and the list for the “undercard” debate at 7 PM Eastern. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who did not make the cut for prime-time in the last debate, did so in this round. Paul elected not to participate in the last debate, holding a townhall instead. No word on whether Trump will do this as well.
As follows for prime-time:
Billionaire businessman Trump [should he deign to appear]; Texas Sen. Ted Cruz; Florida Sen. Marco Rubio; retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; Ohio Gov. John Kasich; and Kentucky Sen. Paul.
Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina; former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee; former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum; and former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore.