On Wednesday, Trump said that he is skipping next week’s Fox News debate to address American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference.
“I shall be honest. Nobody even told me about it,” said Donald Trump Wednesday morning on a phone interview with FOX and Friends. “As you saw, I thought the last debate on CNN was the last debate, which was going to be it. I am doing a major speech in front of a very important group of people, I think it is 8 or 9 thousand people, that night.”
Dan Senor, who had advised the Sen. Marco Rubio’s campaign, probed whether his speech served as an excuse to dodge going to the debate.
Trump himself did not sound especially regretful to be missing out.
“We have had eleven or twelve debates,” said Trump “I did really well on the last one. I think I have done well in all debates. According to Drudge & everybody else, I won the debates. However, I think we have had enough. How many times can the same people ask you the same question? So I was very surprised when I heard that Fox called for a debate.”
(To fact check: there have been indeed 12 debates so far. Reader polls like the ones on Drudge, which Donald Trump loves to cite, are absolutely meaningless.)
Donald Trump’s announcement also drew opposition from his rival, Ohio Gov. John Kasich. John Weaver, along with the Kasich campaign’s chief strategist, in a statement called the decision “disappointing but not surprising.’’
John Weaver also appeared to propose in a Tweet that Kasich would not attend the debate if Donald Trump were not there.
While his absence clearly did not deal a permanent blow to his campaign, there is evidence that it did hurt him among voters in Iowa that he acknowledged. The executive has been present at every debate since, including another event that was moderated by Kelly.