Former President of the United States, Donald Trump on Sunday confirmed that he would skip this week’s first Republican presidential debate, saying Americans know him well.
According to the US former leader who was in 2020 dislodged by President Joe Biden, there’s no need for a public showdown with his rivals for the White House top job.
In a post on his Truth Social platform, Trump praised himself for what he called a hugely successful record as president, as well as his popularity among the American people.
“I WILL THEREFORE NOT BE DOING THE DEBATES!” he emphasized.
The first debate in the race for the 2024 Republican presidential primary election is scheduled for Wednesday in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Several opinion polls, including one published by CBS News on Sunday put Trump far ahead of his rivals.
62 percent of those polled for the survey said they would vote for Trump despite the plethora of indictments hanging on his head.
One of such indictments is one accusing him of attempting to subvert US democracy by scheming to overturn the 2020 election and stay in power despite losing the poll to Joe Biden.
Trump’s closest contender in the CBS poll was Florida Governor Ron DeSantis who got 16 percent. The rest of those in the race are polling in the single digits.
Trump wrote that DeSantis is “crashing like an ailing bird.”
“The public knows who I am & what a successful Presidency I had,” Trump said, citing issues including energy, border security and the military, and the economy.
The 77-year-old former president had been vocal about possibly skipping the debate in the midwesten city of Milwaukee, citing his unwillingness to the limelight with lower-polling rivals.
The New York Times reported Friday that Trump had told aides he was planning to upstage his rivals by skipping the event, organized by Fox News, and instead sit for an online interview with one of Fox’s former hosts, Tucker Carlson.
“Obviously, his legal issues are affecting this race,” Fox News host Bret Baier, who will be moderating the debate, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
“All these candidates have been asked non-stop about what’s happening in courtrooms around the country. So he’ll be a part of this debate whether he’s there or not.”
Seven other candidates have qualified for the debate, including state governors DeSantis and Doug Burgum, former vice president Mike Pence, Trump’s UN ambassador Nikki Haley and South Carolina Senator Tim Scott.
While Trump dominates the field, polling well above his opponents, some allies worry that a no-show could give his rivals a chance to create a viral moment and gain momentum.