'Act of open hostility': Trump to team up with Tucker Carlson instead of attending GOP debate
Trump “plans to upstage the first Republican primary debate on Wednesday by sitting for an online interview with the former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, according to multiple people briefed on the matter,” The New York Times reports Friday. The paper calls the move “debate-night counterprogramming” that “would serve as an act of open hostility,” and “a major affront both to the Republican National Committee and to Fox News, which is hosting the event.”
Trump has long suggested he would not attend the debate, and has refused to sign an RNC required document pledging to support whatever candidate Republican primary voters choose to be their nominee. Candidates are not allowed to debate unless they have signed the pledge, a requirement put into place earlier this year by Trump-supported RNC chair Rona McDaniel.
“Fox News has been drawn into a public battle not only with Mr. Trump but with Mr. Carlson, who is still on contract and being paid by Fox despite having his show taken off the air,” The Times notes. “Fox sent Mr. Carlson a cease-and-desist letter after he aired a series of videos on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.”
Carlson has long been accused of promoting white nationalist and white supremacist beliefs including the “great-replacement theory.” In 2019, The New York Times ran a fact check titled: “Tucker Carlson of Fox Falsely Calls White Supremacy a ‘Hoax’.” Last year, The Times published a profile titled, “How Tucker Carlson Stoked White Fear to Conquer Cable.”
On Thursday Trump hinted he would be skipping the debate.
“Many people are asking whether or not I will be doing the DEBATES? ALL AMERICANS have been clamoring for a President of extremely High Intelligence. As everyone is aware, my Poll numbers, over a ‘wonderful’ field of Republican candidates, are extraordinary. In fact, I am leading the runner up, whoever that may now be, by more than 50 Points. Reagan didn’t do it, and neither did others. People know my Record, one of the BEST EVER, so why would I Debate? I’M YOUR MAN. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
Also on Thursday Trump, for the second day in a row, attacked Fox News.
“Why doesn’t Fox and Friends show all of the Polls where I am beating Biden, by a lot. They just won’t do it! Also, they purposely show the absolutely worst pictures of me, especially the big ‘orange’ one with my chin pulled way back. They think they are getting away with something, they’re not. Just like 2016 all over again…And then they want me to debate!”
On Wednesday Trump had complained, “FoxNews is going all out, just as they did in 2016, to figure who in this very large, but failing, Republican field, can beat your favorite President, Donald John Trump.”
“They use only the most negative polls, which are still great for me, and do everything possible to show that they still have a chance. They even pull out nice guy Marc Thiessen to do contortions with numbers that just don’t exist. On top of all that, I am the only one beating, by a lot, Crooked Joe Biden, the WORST ‘P’ EVER!”
It was revealed during discovery between Fox News and Dominion Voting Systems, which won a $787.5 million settlement against the right-wing cable channel, that Carlson had made private statements about Trump, calling him “demonic,” a “destroyer,” and saying, “I hate him passionately.”
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