GOP frontrunner Donald Trump will ‘definitely not’ be participating in Fox News’s GOP debate on Thursday, according to the Trump campaign.
“He’s definitely not participating in the Fox News debate,” Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told The Washington Post. “His word is his bond.”
During a press conference on Tuesday evening, Trump told reporters he would hold an event to raise money for veterans instead of attending the debate.
Trump had called for Fox News’s Megyn Kelly to be removed as a debate moderator because he said she was not fair to him in the previous debate.
Also, Trump appeared to be upset by a “wise guy” press statement made by Fox News on Tuesday.
Before the Trump campaign said they would not participate in the Iowa confab, Fox News released the following statement to Mediaite:
We learned from a secret back channel that the Ayatollah and Putin both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they meet with him if he becomes president — a nefarious source tells us that Trump has his own secret plan to replace the Cabinet with his Twitter followers to see if he should even go to those meetings.
Fox also backed Kelly in the dispute. “Megyn Kelly is an excellent journalist and the entire network stands behind her — she will absolutely be on the debate stage on Thursday night,” Roger Ailes added about the upcoming debate.
After Trump announced that he will not participate in the Fox News debate, his campaign released the following statement:
As someone who wrote one of the best-selling business books of all time, The Art of the Deal, who has built an incredible company, including some of the most valuable and iconic assets in the world, and as someone who has a personal net worth of many billions of dollars, Mr. Trump knows a bad deal when he sees one. FOX News is making tens of millions of dollars on debates, and setting ratings records (the highest in history), where as in previous years they were low-rated afterthoughts.
Unlike the very stupid, highly incompetent people running our country into the ground, Mr. Trump knows when to walk away. Roger Ailes and FOX News think they can toy with him, but Mr. Trump doesn’t play games. There have already been six debates, and according to all online debate polls including Drudge, Slate, Time Magazine, and many others, Mr. Trump has won all of them, in particular the last one. Whereas he has always been a job creator and not a debater, he nevertheless truly enjoys the debating process – and it has been very good for him, both in polls and popularity.
He will not be participating in the FOX News debate and will instead host an event in Iowa to raise money for the Veterans and Wounded Warriors, who have been treated so horribly by our all talk, no action politicians. Like running for office as an extremely successful person, this takes guts and it is the kind [of] mentality our country needs in order to Make America Great Again.
Update: New York Magazine reported at 9.30 pm. that Trump was rejecting telephone calls from Fox News’ chief Roger Ailes. Instead, Trump is requiring that any negotiations must take place between him and Ailes’ boss, Rupert Murdoch, the owner of News Corp, which owns Fox.
Trump source says Trump isn’t taking Ailes calls. Hannity just tried calling trump as an emissary. Trump only wants to deal with Murdoch now
— Gabriel Sherman (@gabrielsherman) January 27, 2016
Per Trump source: Trump’s position now is he is chairman of his company and he will only deal with Murdoch at a chairman-to-chairman level
— Gabriel Sherman (@gabrielsherman) January 27, 2016
Update: Fox News released a statement in response to Trump’s decision, in which the network trashed Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, accused Trump of “terrorizations” of Kelly, and said that Trump is “walking away” from Iowans.
“As many of our viewers know, FOX News is hosting a sanctioned debate in Des Moines, Iowa on Thursday night, three days before the first votes of the 2016 election are cast in the Iowa Caucus,” Fox News said in the statement. “Donald Trump is refusing to debate seven of his fellow presidential candidates on stage that night, which is near unprecedented. We’re not sure how Iowans are going to feel about him walking away from them at the last minute, but it should be clear to the American public by now that this is rooted in one thing – Megyn Kelly, whom he has viciously attacked since August and has now spent four days demanding be removed from the debate stage. Capitulating to politicians’ ultimatums about a debate moderator violates all journalistic standards, as do threats, including the one leveled by Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski toward Megyn Kelly. In a call on Saturday with a Fox News executive, Lewandowski stated that Megyn had a ‘rough couple of days after that last debate’ and he ‘would hate to have her go through that again.’ Lewandowski was warned not to level any more threats, but he continued to do so. We can’t give in to terrorizations toward any of our employees. Trump is still welcome at Thursday night’s debate and will be treated fairly, just as he has been during his 132 appearances on FOX News & FOX Business, but he can’t dictate the moderators or the questions.”