Donald Trump was interviewed by Tucker Carlson on Twitter during the first GOP debate

Former President Donald Trump skipped the first GOP debate Wednesday night, opting instead for an interview with former Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson as a form of counterprogramming.

The pre-recorded interview was made available on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, five minutes before the start of Wednesday night’s debate. Trump made little mention of Carlson in the roughly 45-minute interview, explaining why he didn’t show up for the debate.

“You see the polls come out and I’m leading by 50 and 60 points,” Trump said. “And some of them are at ones and zeros and twos. And I say, ‘I’m going to sit there for an hour or two and be harassed by people who shouldn’t even be running for president, whatever it is. ?Should I do that? And a network that’s not particularly friendly. Apparently, “”

During the discussion, the eight candidates on stage were asked if they would support Trump as the GOP nominee if he were convicted in any of four separate cases against Trump. Six candidates raised their hands, including former Vice President Mike Pence. Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are the only two who have not.

Trump’s interview timing and format is short on Fox News, plus the rest of the GOP field. Trump, who once praised Fox News for its coverage, has soured on the conservative news network, according to his social media posts. Fox News was cancelled Carlson’s A few days after the institution, the program in April Solved a case on its 2020 manifesto.

According to court documents in Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation lawsuit against Fox News, Carlson wrote to his staff in early January 2021, “We’re so close to ignoring Trump most nights. I really can’t wait,” and “I hate him.”

But the former Fox News anchor said it was Trump who approached Carlson about the possibility of airing an interview the same night as the debate.

“Whatever you think of Trump, as of tonight, he is the undisputed, far-reaching frontrunner in the Republican Party. We think voters are interested in hearing what he thinks,” Tucker said in a video posted on social media. Wednesday afternoon.

During the interview, the former president commented on the 2024 field, saying that if President Biden isn’t the final Democratic nominee, “it’s a free-for-all” and that the nominee doesn’t have to be Vice President Kamala Harris. .

Trump said he thinks Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, whom he calls “dissanctus,” is “out of it.”

“I think he’s Donzo,” Trump said in a video that aired as DeSantis debated other Republican candidates.

Again, Trump asked his Vice President, Mike Pence, on Jan. 6, 2021, for refusing to change the results of the election, and has continued to insist that Pence has the authority to send the results to the states. Pence has repeatedly said that he, like constitutional scholars, has no such authority.

Carlson asked Trump if he thought the country was headed for civil war. In response, Trump on January 6, 2021 pointed to the “passion” and “disgust” of his supporters.

“There was love in that crowd, there was love and unity,” Trump said of his supporters that day. “I’ve never seen such spirit and such passion and such love, and I’ve never seen such hatred at the same time and from the same people for what they’ve done to our country.”

Asked whether there would be an apparent conflict, Trump said he didn’t know.

“There’s a level of fascination that I’ve never seen, a level of hatred that I’ve never seen, and it’s probably a bad combination,” the former president said.

Trump’s appearance with Carlson aired a day before the former president He is expected to absorb himself In Fulton County, Georgia, he was incarcerated Accused Allegations related to efforts to change the results of the 2020 election in Georgia.

Over the weekend, Trump had said he would not attend the debate and dangled the possibility of an alternate appearance before confirming his plans later in the week.

The former president has justified his boycott of the debate by pointing to his substantial lead in the polls. He also acknowledged that the other Republicans on stage were “not dumb people,” providing a glimpse into the mind of the 77-year-old former reality TV star. “Over what?” Trump spoke in an Aug. 9 Newsmax interview.

Trump has also said he will not sign the Republican National Committee’s pledge to endorse the GOP nominee, one of several requirements to qualify for the debate stage. Trump said “three or four” of the Republican contenders are people he doesn’t support, though he declined to say who those candidates were.

A recent poll shows Trump’s lead is only increasing, despite mounting legal troubles. A CBS News/YouGov poll A poll this month shows that 62% of Republican primary voters would choose Trump if they voted today. Voters’ second choice, DeSantis, didn’t come close with 16%. Everyone else in the field is in the single digits.

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