Donald Trump plans to overshadow the Fox News-hosted Republican primary debate on Wednesday, choosing instead to be interviewed by former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, according to the New York Times.
Multiple reports from those close to the former president have indicated that Trump is skipping the debate co-hosted by Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum in Milwaukee. According to the Times, Trump confirmed in the last 24 hours that he will not be making an appearance.
While details of the Carlson interview are sparse at this point, if it goes forward as planned for debate night, it would be an evident attempt to detract from the debate audience.
There was also earlier speculation that Trump could decide to voluntarily turn himself in for his recent Georgia indictment, as required by Aug. 25, an act of debate counterprogramming.
The former president has been alerted that he must make an official decision about his debate attendance by Monday at the latest, but it seems as though he has already made his choice.
Although the host network is not the sole reason Trump is refusing to partake in the debate fanfare, he has repeatedly attacked Fox News since his departure from the White House. Trump complained about the network’s “Fox & Friends” coverage on Thursday saying “Just like 2016 all over again,” wrote Trump. “And then they want me to debate!”
Fox News has made a consistent appeal to the former president in the hopes that they may win over his participation. Top executives privately dined with Trump with that in mind, but to no avail.
Trump is not the only one currently contesting Fox News, as former anchor Carlson has been involved in a public spat with his former network over his existing contract. Fox has sent Carlson a cease-and-desist letter after launching a talk show series on X, formerly known as Twitter.