RNC ‘Confident’ Fox News Will Not Display Empty Lectern Highlighting Trump’s Absence

Fox News will not have an empty podium at Thursday’s debate to highlight Donald Trump’s absence, according to Sean Spicer, the Republican National Committee’s Chief Strategist and Communications Director.

On Wednesday, CNN host Wolf Blitzer asked Spicer if there will be an “empty lectern… showcasing the absence of Donald Trump.” Spicer replied, “no.” He said that “both sides have always had an unwritten rule with networks saying that empty podiums will not be shown… and that will be the case this time as well.”

Spicer noted on Wolf that Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) skipped the last undercard debate and Fox Business Network did not have an empty podium signifying Paul’s absence. When Blitzer asked Spicer again whether there would be an empty lectern, Spicer said, “Nope. I’m pretty confident of that.”

Spicer also said the RNC has not been involved in “back-channel negotiations” to get Trump to show up for Thursday’s debate. Trump, who decided to skip the Fox News debate after the network mocked and taunted him with a Tuesday afternoon press release, scheduled a Thursday evening event in Iowa opposite the debate that will raise money for Wounded Warriors.


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