Donald Trump still has not indicated one way or the other whether he plans to attend the first Republican primary debate next week, put on by the RNC and Fox News. The event will almost certainly be entirely about him whether he’s there or not.
As he leads in the primary field by a not-even-close margin, his opponents are reportedly planning to use his legal woes as debate fodder, NBC News reported. Both Mike Pence and Ron DeSantis are already using his latest indictment in Georgia this week to bolster their own campaigns — seizing on Trump’s ongoing hysterics about the election being stolen in Georgia in 2020 as an opportunity to draw a contrast, presenting themselves as the Reasonable Guys who believe the election was legit.
Fox News executives have been trying to entice Trump to get in on next week’s action since the eve of his last indictment, but his allies and legal advisers are reportedly steering him away from participating. One former senior campaign official told NBC News that his 30 point lead in national polls should make the decision for the Trump 2024 campaign: “There’s no reason he should debate,” the former aide said.
Whether he attends or not he, as the effective leader of the Republican Party, will be the focus. Some in the media are even raising theories about how he could steal even more oxygen from the debate stage. That same former senior campaign aide told NBC earlier this week that it’s a “smart” idea for Trump to turn himself in in Atlanta right as his 2024 rivals attempt to debate boring policy issues.
Trump and the rest of his 18 indicted allies have until August 25 at noon to turn themselves in at the Fulton County jail for booking. Local officials have upped security and cleared a media staging area nearby, expecting each arrest to attract a media circus, obviously, and especially Trump’s.
It’s the kind of move that one could expect from the one-time reality TV star who brought those dubious talents to the presidency. Especially now that he re-upped his years-long feud with Fox today — this time because the network supposedly isn’t airing polls where he is beating Joe Biden. But mostly because they keep using the “absolutely worst pictures” of him live on the air.
Who among us likes how we look with our “chin pulled way back”?
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