Trump To Skip CNN GOP Debate, Participate In Fox News Town Hall Scheduled For Same Time | Eastern North Carolina Now

    Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the The Daily Wire. The author of this post is Zach Jewell.

    Former President Donald Trump, the frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination, will skip a fifth Republican primary debate, opting to participate in a Fox News town hall scheduled for the same time on January 10.

    The Fox News town hall, moderated by hosts Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, will take place in Des Moines, Iowa, next Wednesday at 9:00 p.m. ET - at the same time and in the same city that GOP candidates will meet for a CNN debate just days before the Iowa caucuses, POLITICO reported. Trump's decision to forego the debate is in step with his past strategy, which his GOP opponents have criticized him for, but the former president's polling lead has remained unshaken despite his absence from each of the debates.

    Before the first GOP debate of the primary season in August, Trump announced he would "not be doing the debates," citing his large polling lead over the rest of the Republican field.

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    "The public knows who I am & what a successful Presidency I had, with Energy Independence, Strong Borders & Military, Biggest EVER Tax & Regulation Cuts, No Inflation, Strongest Economy in History & much more," Trump said.

    So far, only Trump, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley have qualified for the CNN debate next Wednesday, according to the network. DeSantis and Haley are now polling neck-and-neck in both Iowa and New Hampshire as the clock ticks closer to the first caucuses and primary.

    Haley slammed Trump for skipping the debate, writing, "With only three candidates qualifying for the CNN debate, it's time for Donald Trump to show up. As the debate stage continues to shrink, it's getting harder for Donald Trump to hide."

    Last week, DeSantis hit Trump for his refusal to attend previous debates.

    "He's not been willing to come here and answer questions," DeSantis told reporters in Iowa. "He parachutes in for 30, 45-minute, hour speech and then just leaves, rather than listening to Iowans answering questions and doing, I think, what it takes to win."

    The CNN debate stage will likely be the smallest yet in the 2024 primary cycle since tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie have not met the requirements to appear on stage as both candidates poll below 5% nationally and struggle to gain any traction in Iowa. Ramaswamy said he also plans on holding a competing event with the CNN debate, calling it a "fake Iowa 'debate,'" The Washington Post reported.

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    CNN will also host a debate in New Hampshire on January 21, two days before the first-in-the-nation primary, and the Trump campaign has already said he intends to skip that debate as well. The former president told radio host Hugh Hewitt last month that he would only debate a Republican opponent "if it's very close."

    "I would debate that Republican, yeah. But it's not close," Trump said.
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