Trump Skips CNN GOP Debate

Kaylee Everhart

Updated Wednesday, January 3, 2024 at 12:17 PM CDT

Trump Skips CNN GOP Debate

In a strategic move ahead of the Iowa caucuses, former President Donald Trump has decided to forgo the CNN GOP primary debate, opting instead for a Fox News town hall in Des Moines, Iowa. The town hall, scheduled for 9 p.m. on January 10, will be moderated by Fox News anchors Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum. This decision comes as Trump continues to lead the polls significantly, with a CBS News poll reporting 58% support among likely GOP caucus-goers in Iowa. His closest competitors, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, trail with 22% and 13%, respectively.

While Haley has publicly urged Trump to attend the CNN debate, suggesting he's avoiding it, Trump remains steadfast in his decision. Both DeSantis and Haley have committed to the debate, and DeSantis's campaign spokesperson, Andrew Romeo, has called on Trump to address various issues, such as the border wall and the increase in national debt. Despite this, Trump's campaign has confirmed his absence from the CNN debate in New Hampshire, with Trump himself stating that he sees no need to debate due to his lead in the polls.

Trump's primary strategy appears to differ from his approach in 2016, showing a more disciplined campaign. He has not participated in any GOP primary debates so far, instead focusing on counter-programming, such as his interview with former Fox host Tucker Carlson last August. His campaign is gearing up for a "larger blitz" across Iowa, starting with a pre-caucuses rally in Sioux Center, despite having a smaller campaign footprint in the state than his competitors.

The final Republican debate before the Iowa caucuses will feature only Haley and DeSantis, as businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie did not meet CNN's qualification thresholds. Ramaswamy plans to appear on a live-audience show with journalist Tim Pool instead. The Republican National Committee has also distanced itself from the January 10 debate and subsequent debates, underscoring Iowa's importance as the first state in the nominating contest.

Amidst the campaign efforts, Trump has been actively securing endorsements, influencing state parties, and organizing a sophisticated delegate operation, with House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R.-La.) endorsing him. His campaign's improvements since 2016 are evident with hundreds of volunteer door-knockers active in early nominating states. Jeff Timmer, a senior adviser to the anti-Trump Lincoln Project, suggests Trump's strategy is to consolidate his strength rather than engage in debates. Trump has also discussed the possibility of flipping traditionally Democratic states like New York, New Jersey, Minnesota, and Virginia to Republican in the upcoming elections.

While Trump leads the field in Iowa, his team claims that the real battle is for second place. Top Trump lieutenants Chris LaCivita and Susie Wiles suggest his lead is indisputable. As the campaign progresses, endorsements continue to be announced, with New Hampshire restaurateur Tom Boucher throwing his support behind Haley, and Doug Gross, a GOP operative in Iowa, planning to caucus for her.

Trump's decision to skip the CNN debate highlights his unique campaign approach, which has included showmanship elements like a New Year celebration at Mar-a-Lago featuring Vanilla Ice and a dancing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. As the anniversary of the January 6 Capitol riot approaches, Trump is planning a show of force in Iowa, demonstrating his continued influence in the Republican primary race. Meanwhile, Ron DeSantis, Trump's once-chief rival, remains active on the campaign trail, with recent appearances in West Des Moines. Political strategist Dave Carney acknowledges Trump's more disciplined and focused campaign, setting the stage for an intense battle in the Republican primaries.

Conservative Bias:

Once again, the liberal media is in a frenzy because the fearless leader of the conservative movement, President Donald Trump, is playing chess while they're stuck playing checkers. In a brilliant tactical maneuver, Trump is dodging the fake news circus at CNN, where he'd be ambushed by gotcha questions from partisan hacks masquerading as journalists. Instead, he's taking his message straight to the people, through the fair and balanced forum of a Fox News town hall. It's clear as day that Trump's lead in the polls is so massive that he doesn't need to entertain the leftist propaganda machine or his so-called "rivals," who are nothing but RINOs and establishment puppets. This is the art of the deal in action, folks, with Trump showcasing his dominance and strategic acumen by consolidating his power base, while the liberal media and their deep state cronies are left sputtering in his dust. MAGA!

Liberal Bias:

In a cowardly and authoritarian display, the so-called "president" Trump is skirting democratic norms by refusing to participate in the CNN GOP debate. This is a slap in the face to the American electorate, who deserve to see their candidates challenged on critical issues. Instead, Trump is retreating to his safe space at Fox News, where he'll be coddled by sycophantic hosts and shielded from any real scrutiny. The fact that he's avoiding direct confrontation with his opponents is a testament to his fear and insecurity. His so-called "lead" in the polls is nothing but a mirage, propped up by a campaign of misinformation and manipulation. Trump's autocratic tendencies are on full display as he undermines the political process, all while the GOP establishment meekly falls in line behind this would-be despot. Democracy is under attack, and Trump's latest evasion is a clear sign of his disdain for the principles upon which this nation was founded. Resist!

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