Trump confirms won’t join this week’s Republican presidential debate

Former president, who faces several court cases, claims he is so well known among the public, he does not need to participate.

Former President Donald Trump
Trump has been suggesting for months that he will skip the debate [File: Seth Wenig/AP Photo]

Former United States President Donald Trump, the frontrunner for the Republican nomination in the 2024 presidential election, has confirmed he will not join this week’s Republican primary debate.

Trump has for months suggested he would skip Wednesday night’s debate in the midwestern city of Milwaukee, arguing that he was well-known among the US public so it did not make sense to give his Republican rivals a chance to attack him.

On Sunday, a CBS poll showed he was the preferred candidate for 62 percent of Republican voters, with his closest rival Florida Governor Ron DeSantis at 16 percent. The other candidates in the party’s race for the nomination had less than 10 percent support.

“The public knows who I am & what a successful Presidency I had,” Trump said on his Truth Social platform, citing issues such as energy, border security and the military. “I WILL THEREFORE NOT BE DOING THE DEBATES!”

The New York Times reported last week that Trump had sat for a taped interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, which was expected to be posted online on Wednesday in a bid to upstage his rivals.

Trump’s absence from this week’s debate could leave DeSantis the focus of attacks from other candidates looking to position themselves as the primary alternative to the former president. Other candidates include former Vice President Mike Pence, Trump’s United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley and South Carolina Senator Tim Scott.

The winner of the Republican nomination will take on Democratic President Joe Biden in the November 2024 election.

DeSantis’s campaign spokesperson, Andrew Romeo, said the Florida governor was looking forward to being in Milwaukee to share his vision for a possible presidency.

“No one is entitled to this nomination, including Donald Trump. You have to show up and earn it,” Romeo said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Earlier this month, Trump was indicted in the state of Georgia on charges of racketeering and a string of election crimes after a two-year investigation into his efforts to overturn his 2020 election defeat to Biden.

The former president also faces charges in three other cases in New York, Washington, DC, and Florida.

Trump has claimed he is the victim of a “witch hunt”.

The Georgia prosecutor has given Trump until August 25 to surrender himself to authorities.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies