For Thursday’s Fox News-Google Republican debate, real estate mogul and presidential contender Donald Trump and his campaign have announced that he will not be participating, and Rand Paul’s increased poll numbers have qualified him to be on the main debate stage with the others. The current lineup is as follows: Donald Trump, Ted Cruz , Marco Rubio , Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, John Kasich and Rand Paul .
Donald Trump’s reason for not participating in tomorrow’s debate has to do with the inclusion of Megyn Kelly as one of the moderators and also a sarcastic press release by Fox News, poking fun of Donald Trump. The press release read:
“We learned from a secret back channel that the Ayatollah and Putin both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they meet with him if he becomes president — a nefarious source tells us that Trump has his own secret plan to replace the Cabinet with his Twitter followers to see if he should even go to those meetings.”
The contention between Donald Trump and Fox News, particularly Megyn Kelly, goes back to the first Republican debate in August of 2015. Moderators Bret Baier, Chris Wallace, and Megyn Kelly all had asked Donald Trump pointed questions in an apparent attempt to humiliate him. Trump was especially perturbed by Megyn Kelly’s questions about misogynistic comments he’s made in the past.
At the last debate, Senator and presidential candidate Rand Paul had been relegated to the undercard debate because of his poll numbers being below the network’s designated threshold at the time of the debate scheduling. Less popular candidates John Kasich and Jeb Bush participated in the first tier debate. Rand Paul announced he would not be participating in the second tier debate, because “we have a first tier campaign.” Rand Paul’s boycott of the debate elicited mixed reactions from voters. Some supported his decision, and according to comments sections in news articles on the subject, others viewed him as being a “spoiled brat.”
While the Senator refused to participate in the undercard debate, he held his own virtual townhall event, which drew in an estimated 7 million participants, compared with the dismal 2 million viewers who watched the second tier debate.
It remains to be seen whether these voters will have the same reaction regarding Trump’s refusal to participate in the main debate tomorrow night.