Report: Trump Considering Alternate Programming to First RNC Debate

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Former President Donald Trump is reportedly considering offering an alternate event to the first Republican National Committee (RNC) debate, which is scheduled to take place August 23, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, according to reports.

Trump has yet to say if he will participate in the RNC-sanctioned debates, expressing disappointment back in April as possible details of the RNC’s future plans began to surface. At the time, Trump expressed disappointment that nobody obtained the approval of the Trump campaign before announcing possible details of the future debates.

“When you’re leading by seemingly insurmountable numbers, and you have hostile Networks with angry, TRUMP & MAGA hating anchors asking the ‘questions,’ why subject yourself to being libeled and abused?” Trump asked in an April 25 Truth Social post.

“Also, the Second Debate is being held at the Reagan Library, the Chairman of which is, amazingly, Fred Ryan, Publisher of The Washington Post. NO!” he added.

Months later in June, the RNC formally announced the details of the first debate, which will be moderated by Fox News’s Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum. And according to NBC News, which spoke to several advisers, it sounds as if Trump is leaning toward skipping out on the debate altogether. He may also be toying with the possibility of a dueling event.

“Trump is also exploring options for counterprogramming during the first debate, according to people familiar with his deliberations,” NBC News reported.

It is no secret that Trump has been unhappy with Fox News. He made that even clearer in a June 26 Truth Social post, essentially blasting the outlet for allegedly showing bias in favor of Gov. Ron DeSantis, covering the governor’s border news conference “from beginning to end” while failing to cover Trump’s big speeches over the weekend.

On Wednesday, Trump took another jab at Fox News.

“Three people in New Hampshire asked me why FoxNews uses such ‘horrible’ pictures of me when doing or promoting a story. The coloring, distortions, everything are just so bad. They must sit and look at 100 different shots, and then take the 10 absolute worst,” he said.

“My staff has even complained about it for months, but to no avail. Fox is just bad news, but I’m leading in the Polls by record numbers, so perhaps their bull…. is just not working. They are down 37% for a reason!” he exclaimed:

One adviser made it clear that Trump has not yet arrived at a decision on participating in the RNC debates but predicted, “If he does not debate, I doubt he’s staying home.”

“He shops opinions with everyone and will get, like, 100 different opinions,” the adviser said, according to NBC News. “He wants to know what everyone thinks but will ultimately do what he wants to do. In general, he is asking everyone, from the bellman to [RNC Chair] Ronna McDaniel.”

This report comes weeks after the RNC announced the criteria for the first debate, which include several categories of requirements which must be met in order to participate, including stringent fundraising and polling metrics. On the latter point, a presidential hopeful must poll at least one percent in three qualifying national polls or garner one percent in two national polls in addition to one percent in a qualifying early state poll.

Additionally, candidates will be asked to sign a pledge to the RNC, promising to refrain from participating in “any non-RNC sanctioned debate.” They must also agree to support the Republican party’s nominee.

Recent surveys — both national and state-level — continued to show Trump as the clear frontrunner in the race, leading by double-digits even as the field grows.

A recent Convention of States Action/Trafalgar Group survey found that most Republicans, 53.4 percent, believe debate details — topics, times, location, and moderators —  should be more influenced by mutual agreement from the candidates as opposed to Republican National Committee leadership.


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