First RNC debate will be held on Wednesday – without Donald Trump

August 21 – The Republican National Committee will hold the first 2024 presidential debate this Wednesday at 9pm on Fox News. 

So far, seven candidates will take to the stage, including Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy, Mike Pence, Nikki Haley and Chris Christie.

Former president Donald Trump has said he will not be participating in Republican debates. He did, however, sit down over the weekend with Tucker Carlson and that pre recorded interview will be released Wednesday night. 

Fox News is anticipating the whole thing – the talk leading up to the debate, the debate itself and then the discussion afterward – will be about five hours. 

Attorney Clint Barkdoll said, “I don’t like the RNC doing both of the first two debates they’re giving exclusively to Fox which I think was a mistake. I think the RNC would have been smart to put at least one of these on another media outlet to try to expand the audience. But this will get a ton of attention. This will dominate the news cycle Thursday and Friday. Trump’s counter programming with Tucker Carlson will have huge ratings however they measure those kinds of interviews over Twitter. I don’t know how newsworthy it will be, it’s pre-recorded. It’s hard to say what Trump might say and what Carlson may have asked him.”

Not only will Trump not participate in this debate on Wednesday, he also announced he doesn’t plan on participating in any of the debates and that’s getting some criticism from the conservative editorial pages. 

Barkdoll said, “One of the concerns is, is this giving Joe Biden some cover next year if Biden wants to duck out of a presidential debate in the general election? I understand Trump’s strategy here. There’s polling out over the weekend, the CBS poll, Trump is up by almost 50 points in that Republican primary. There’s another poll from Iowa that has him up by 30. They’re saying it’s the biggest lead these polls have ever conducted or seen since they’ve been doing primary presidential polling. So unless something changes here, we’re only four to five months out from Iowa and New Hampshire, Trump seems to be running away right now with this primary nomination.”

In addition, over the weekend, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin and Georgia Governor Brian Kemp talked of how they are still thinking about getting into this Republican presidential primary race, possibly even as a ticket. 

Barkdoll said, “Now normally when I see this reporting, I think this is just rumor mill wishful thinking type stuff. But what’s interesting is these guys have recently attended big donor fundraisers, pushing them to run. Glenn Youngkin was recently hosted by Wilbur Ross. This would be Trump’s former Secretary of Commerce at a huge event in Martha’s Vineyard, millions and millions of dollars raised presumably in the context of getting him to run. If these guys jump in, they need to move quickly because time is quickly running out to get on to some of the ballots of those early states. But there’s some speculation after this debate on Wednesday, one or both of these guys could make an announcement. So it’d be a fascinating thing to watch there.”