The Fox TV affiliate in Salt Lake City reports, and Fox News now confirms, that Monday’s debate has been canceled. The GOP debate, the 13th of this cycle, was to take place at the Salt Palace Convention Center.
This morning on Fox & Friends, GOP front-runner Donald Trump said he wouldn’t participate because he is giving a speech Monday night, adding, “I thought the last debate on CNN was the last debate.” (But at the end of that debate last Thursday, Trump told CNN’s Chris Cuomo, “I think they want to do two more debates, and I guess I’m pretty much okay with it.”)
After Trump’s announcement this morning, Gov. John Kasich‘s campaign strategist John Weaver tweeted:
No debate in SLC Monday due to Trump backing out. No surprise Trump avoiding contrast. Utah: @JohnKasich headed your way Fri.
— John Weaver (@JWGOP) March 16, 2016
Moments ago, Fox News evp of News Michael Clemente released this statement about the debate:
On Feb. 20, the Republican National Committee announced that a GOP presidential primary debate would be held on March 21 in Salt Lake City. They offered that debate to Fox News Channel to host, provided there were enough candidates actively campaigning. This morning, Donald Trump announced he would not be participating in the debate. Shortly afterward, John Kasich’s campaign announced that without Trump at the debate, Kasich would not participate. Ted Cruz has expressed a willingness to debate Trump or Kasich — or both. But obviously, there needs to be more than one participant. So the Salt Lake City debate is cancelled.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports the Utah Republican Party received more than 50,000 ticket requests for the debate.