Trump: ‘Looks like I’m out’ of Fox News GOP debate
Marshalltown, Iowa — Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump said Tuesday he will “most likely” skip Thursday night’s debate in Des Moines because of his ongoing feud with Fox News cable news anchor Megyn Kelly.
“I probably won’t bother doing the debate,” Trump told reporters before an evening campaign rally here.
Trump said he would instead hold an event elsewhere in Iowa “simultaneously with the debate” to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project and veterans causes instead of participate in the final debate before Monday’s Iowa Caucuses.
The bombastic billionaire businessman said he was upset with a “wise guy” press release Fox News issued about the debate and doesn’t want Kelly to be one of three moderators. Trump and Kelly have sparred for months in interviews and a prior GOP presidential candidate debate.
“They can’t toy with me like they toy with everybody else,” Trump said. “So let them have their debate, and let’s see how they do with the ratings. ... They’re going to make a fortune with the debate. Now let’s see how many people watch.”
Trump has threatened to walk away from prior debates. But on Tuesday he called this threat “pretty close to irrevocable.”
Asked whether he could change his mind and show up Thursday night at the Iowa Events Center, Trump responded: “It sounds like I’m out.”
Trump wanted Fox News to donate a portion of its profits from commercials during Thursday night’s debate to causes aiding military veterans and bump Kelly from the panel of moderators. He called her “a third-rate reporter.”
“Megyn Kelly is a lightweight,” Trump said.
Trump made the comments about the debate Tuesday evening at a press conference before holding a campaign rally in a high school gym in Marshalltown, a farming community 56 miles northeast of Des Moines.