Donald Trump Campaign Manager: Other Candidates Thinking About Skipping Fox Debate

A young girl stands at the rope line as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets members of the audience after speaking at a rally at Muscatine High School in Muscatine, Iowa, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016. ()
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Speaking on Good Morning America and Morning Joe this morning, Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski hinted that other candidates were thinking of dropping out of the upcoming Fox News debate after Trump decided to bail.

He asserted that anchor Megyn Kelly was “obsessed” with his boss, which was one reason why Trump decided not to participate.

“Megyn Kelly is totally obsessed with Mr. Trump,” Lewandowski said on Good Morning America. “She’s done multiple shows on why he shouldn’t be even involved in the race on television. She’s completely obsessed with him. It’s impossible to have a fair and honest debate.”

Lewandowski argued that Fox News was trying to use the event to promote its own employees, not the issues that mattered to voters.

“What Fox wants to do is they want to have 24 million people tune in to watch Donald Trump so that their anchors can have the story about them,” he said, pointing out that Trump could see it was a “bad deal” to appear at the debate.

Lewandowski previewed a Trump event in Des Moines, saying he would be raising money for wounded veterans, and said in an interview on Morning Joe that other campaigns had phoned them for details of the event.

“I had a number of calls yesterday with some of the other campaigns who said, hey, can we come and join you in raising money for the wounded warriors, for veterans because, you know, if Fox isn’t going to be fair to you, what makes you think they’re going to be fair to us,” he said.

He called Fox executives “very dishonest” for accusing him of threatening Kelly in phone calls, and accused them of favoring other candidates because they had family members working for them.

“It’s a shame, when you have a conversation with some of the Fox executives, you’d hope they’d keep that conversation private,” he said. “Instead you have executives over there who have relatives working for other campaigns. These are the people who are putting debate questions together.”

“Mr. Trump knows when to walk away from a bad deal,” he said on Morning Joe. “It’s Roger Ailes, It’s Fox News, they think they can toy with Mr. Trump, Mr. Trump doesn’t play games, you guys know that … this isn’t about Megyn Kelly at all, this is about giving the American people the opportunity to ask questions, to hear from the candidates directly in a fair manner.”

He compared the upcoming Fox News debate with the widely criticized CNBC debate – accusing Fox executives of trying to make the moderators the story instead of focusing on the issues.

“What we saw, even with the CNBC debate is when the moderators want to be the story and not let the candidate answer or have the opportunity to answer questions that the American people care about, there’s ramifications to that,” Lewandowski said.


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