Trump’s plan to 'undermine' GOP debate is about 'double-cucking Fox': report

Trump’s plan to 'undermine' GOP debate is about 'double-cucking Fox': report
DES MOINES, IOWA - AUGUST 12: Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Steer N' Stein bar at the Iowa State Fair on August 12, 2023 in Des Moines, Iowa. Republican and Democratic presidential hopefuls, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former President Donald Trump are visiting the fair, a tradition in one of the first states to hold caucuses in 2024. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images).

Former President Donald Trump has been boasting to his allies that the basis of his "plans to ditch and counter-program" the Republican National Committee's first presidential primary debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Wednesday, August 23rd is about "punishing" Fox News founder Rupert Murdoch's family for their "backing of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis," Rolling Stone's Asawin Suebsaeng and Adam Rawnsley report.

"'Maybe they should have been loyal,' Trump has privately sniped — about Fox, and Rupert Murdoch, specifically — earlier this month, suggesting that the Murdochs and Fox News executives forgot that their viewers are Trump devotees, according to one of the people with direct knowledge," the correspondents write.

"In discussions with his political advisers and during sit-down meals with allies at his Bedminster club this month, Trump has repeatedly mocked Fox brass and on-air talent for supposedly 'begging' him to participate in the televised debate, and sneered that the network has no 'leverage' to force him to do anything while his polling lead is so commanding, the two sources say," Rolling Stone notes. "In these private conversations, the heavily indicted 2024 Republican frontrunner has relayed to confidants the alleged details of conversations he's had with Fox News leadership and star hosts."

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Suebsaeng and Rawnsley continue, "There are multiple reasons why Trump and senior aides plan to ditch this week's Fox News debate, the first of the GOP presidential primary season. For one thing, Trump and his team want to deprive his conservative opponents of the attention, bump in ratings and earned media that they would likely get if Trump were on that stage with them at this early point in the primary. In Trump's own words: 'Why should I give it to them?'"

Trump maintains sizeable polling leads over his dozen rivals and intends to appear in a prerecorded interview with fired Fox News host Tucker Carlson in lieu of participating in the showdown.

Trump "objected to the GOP's requirement that all debate participants commit to supporting the party's eventual nominee. As the debate crept closer, Trump repeatedly claimed the debate was an unnecessary event for him and ridiculed the participants," Rolling Stone points out. "According to sources with knowledge of the situation, the planning and back-and-forth conversations — on undermining the Fox News debate — between Trumpland and Team Carlson began well over a month ago."

One individual told Rolling Stone that "It's Trump and Tucker double-cucking Fox. It's not the main reason this is happening, but it's certainly the cherry on top for both of them."

READ MORE: GOP debate moderator accuses Trump of 'sucking the oxygen out of the room'

Suebsaeng's and Rawnsley's full analysis is available at this link (subscription required).

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