MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin — Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) told Breitbart News on Tuesday that the Donald Trump-less Republican primary debate on Wednesday is “for the donors and for the campaign consultants, so they can continue making money.”
Greene spoke with Breitbart News in downtown Milwaukee just over 24 hours before the candidates took the stage at the Fiserv Forum for the first debate of the 2024 Republican presidential primary — with former President Trump declining to attend.
Greene, who is also a surrogate for the Trump campaign, argued that given Trump’s wide lead in the polls of likely primary voters, the race for the Republican nomination was all but over, even if Trump would be the center of conversation Wednesday evening.
Trump currently dominates the rest of the Republican field in the primary race, and some polls also show him leading incumbent President Joe Biden, despite lingering concerns about his electability, given his penchant for provocative and divisive rhetoric.
In Trump’s absence, the debate risks becoming a dud — at best, an audition for Trump’s vice president, or his replacement. The Republican National Committee and the host, Fox News, hope that the debate will highlight alternative leaders and policies.
On Thursday, the day after the debate, Trump plans to surrender to authorities in Fulton County, Georgia, where he and 18 other co-defendants face a variety of charges in a rambling indictment focusing on his efforts to challenge the 2020 election results.
The Georgia indictment is the fourth Trump faces. He also faces charges in Manhattan over the Stormy Daniels affair; federal charges in Miami, for allegedly mishandling classified documents; and federal charges in DC over his 2020 election challenges.
Voters did not care about the impending state and federal indictments against Trump, Greene argued.
Rather than about Trump, Greene said, “This election is about $1.75 gas.”
She noted the struggles of American families to deal with inflation, especially rising food costs. And whatever legal obstacles Trump faces, she said, what voters remember is that “life was good when he was president,” and that he cared about issues that mattered to them, such as border security, the fentanyl crisis, and economic growth.
As to Trump’s rivals on the debate stage, she said: “In the back of their mind, they’re all thinking: ‘If he just goes to jail, then I have a chance.’ When in reality, that just disgusts most voters.”
Asked what Trump should do to reform the Department of Justice, Greene was measured in her response. “The Department of Justice serves a very important role. We want to prosecute child rapists, we want to prosecute terrorists. But what’s happened to our justice department is that it’s been politicized. We have to carefully weed that out.”
She said that splitting the department up, or moving it outside of Washington, D.C., might be an answer. “Decentralization seems to be the way to do it.”
Asked what question she would ask the debate participants, if she could, Green did not hesitate: “When are you dropping out?”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.