Former President Donald Trump is planning to upstage his fellow Republicans by avoiding the first debate—instead giving an exclusive interview with Tucker Carlson.
- The first debate of the 2024 presidential election is scheduled for Wednesday, August 23, at 9 p.m. ET, hosted by journalists Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
- Eight Republican candidates are currently eligible to attend the event—including Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy, Mike Pence, Nikki Haley, Tim Scott, Doug Burgum, and Chris Christie.
- Other candidates have until Monday evening to meet the party requirements for polling and donors to attend the event.
- A notable absentee may be frontrunner Trump, with several reports claiming he will be a no-show for the event, The New York Times reports.
Why It’s Important
With the Republican field of candidates becoming increasingly crowded, Trump’s move to miss next week’s debate could be a notable power move from the runaway lead candidate going into the next election cycle—a sign that he feels he is so far ahead that he does not need to respect or acknowledge his opponents to win.
The decision has not been formally announced by Trump’s campaign team, but several individuals with knowledge of the matter have claimed he will not attend. Trump has also suggested on previous occasions that taking to the debate stage will give his opponents a better chance to attack him.
The debate will also place additional pressure on the second-runner-up candidate Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, giving other candidates a chance to personally challenge, question, and upstage him for the chance of coming in second place, improving poll numbers, or setting themselves apart as a viable candidate for Trump’s vice president, should he receive the Republican nomination next summer.
As FiveThirtyEight reports, Trump (54.5%) is the runaway frontrunner in the race, followed by DeSantis (15.4%), Ramaswamy (7.9%), Pence (5.1%), Haley (3.7%), Christie (3.3%), Scott (2.9%), Burgum (0.5%), and Asa Hutchinson (0.6%)
Trump will still have a long road to the White House if he does secure the nomination. On August 14, Trump was indicted for a fourth time, along with 18 allies, by Fulton County Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis, over claims that he attempted to overthrow the Georgia election in 2020. He faces three additional indictments and several ongoing lawsuits that will go to trial in 2024 during the lead-up to the election. Trump’s lawyers on Friday pushed for the fourth indictment trial to be moved to April 2026.
The interview would also prove to be Tucker Carlson’s largest interview since he launched his series Tucker on Twitter on June 6—which has included candidates Vivek Ramaswamy and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, former Biden business partner Devon Archer, social influencer Andrew Tate, and celebrity Ice Cube.
After being fired by Fox News in April, he has received millions of views with his new Twitter/X.com-exclusive show. He is currently seeking venture capital support to grow his new show into a large media company.