Former President Donald Trump has confirmed that he will not be participating in the first Republican presidential primary debate set to air tonight on Fox News from 9-11 PM/ET at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Instead, Trump, who is currently feuding with the Murdochs and Fox News, will look to steal the attention away from the debate by teaming up with a personality also fuending with the network, former Fox News primetime host Tucker Carlson.
Trump recently sat down with Carlson for a pre-recorded interview, which is set to be posted on X (Twitter) around the same time as the debate is airing. The move, obviously, is to try and steal as much attention from the debate as possible and embarrass Fox News if the stunt succeeds.
Fox News, for its part, according to The Washington Post, is not giving any attention to the Trump/Carlson interview, saying that it “looks forward to hosting the first debate of the Republican presidential primary season offering viewers an unmatched opportunity to learn more about the candidates’ positions on a variety of issues which is essential to the electoral process.”
After his ouster from Fox News due to the $787.5 Dominion Voting Systems settlement, Carlson has been using X(Twitter) as his home base for his videos. Carson, who is looking to start a media company, will continue to use X(Twitter) to post his videos, including his monologues, interviews, and documentaries, but extended versions of the same videos will be put behind a paywall and accessed only through a subscription.
By having Trump on his show, Carlson wants to cement his relevancy within the conservative/right-wing media bubble and prove to Fox News, which has rebounded in the ratings after his unceremonious exit, that he has the muscle and the weight to compete with them. While for the former president, this was a low-hanging fruit opportunity and another instance of his attention-stealing tactics.
Meanwhile, Fox News anchors and debate co-moderators Martha MacCallum and Bret Baier will surely make the most of the opportunity minus Trump. In a recent interview with TVNewser, MacCallum talked about why the debate will still be relevant despite not having the former president, saying, “62% of Republican voters want an alternative or are open to an alternative to Trump.”
When presented with the debate being better off without Trump’s presence, MacCallum said, “Right, and then maybe better for voters because they are already considering alternatives, which the polling shows us. It would give them an opportunity to really hear from them a bit more.”