Former President Donald Trump told interviewer Tucker Carlson that he skipped the first Republican presidential debate to avoid being “bothered” by rivals he said didn’t deserve to run.
He made the remark at the beginning of a 46-minute interview, in which he said he skipped the forum to avoid giving other Republicans a chance to attack him and acknowledged that putting himself at his helm was a defensive measure to put.
“But you see, the polls put me up 50 and 60 points.” And you know, some of them are one and zero and two. And I’m like, ‘Should I sit there for an hour or two, whatever it is, and be hassled by people who shouldn’t even be running for president? Should I do that?” Trump told Carlson.
He made the comment after onstage rivals, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, angered him for skipping the min event.
Former President Donald Trump said he skipped the first presidential debate to avoid being “harassed” by his rivals. Instead, he sat for an interview with Tucker Carlson at his private club in New Jersey
Carlson posted the interview on his Twitter account, now dubbed “Honestly, you know, they’ve been madly back into Ron Desanctimonious, and now they’ve dumped him,” he said, using his insult to DeSantis.
“I mean, it’s a lost cause,” Trump said on a night DeSantis was looking for a breakthrough moment. DeSantis previously said Trump “owed it” to people to engage in the debate.
Trump said the situation reminded him of the 2016 campaign where he said he had to fight, but the network “became very friendly after I won.”
“But I just felt that it would be more appropriate not to have the debate.” “I don’t think it’s right to do that,” he said.
He referred to his poll results but exaggerated by claiming it was 70 percent. “And I’m going to have eight people, ten people, whoever started the debate, I don’t know how many, but I’m going to have all these people yelling at me and shouting questions at me?” All of which I’m happy to answer – I love doing it – but there’s no point in doing them. “So I took a pass, as you probably noticed,” he told Carlson.
Trump questioned why he should take the stage during a debate while his rivals are “yelling at me and shouting questions at me.”
The comments came in an interview in which Trump called his critics “savages” and in the preview of his interview with Tucker Carlson – which will coincide with the Republican presidential debate – claimed his opponents would try to “rerun” the election steal”.
Former Fox News anchor Carlson asked the former president if the US is headed for civil war and if he fears his enemies want to kill him.
When asked about his health, Trump told Carlson he didn’t think President Joe Biden “will make it” and also accused Mitch McConnell of trying to rally support for an impeachment trial against him.
“Are you afraid that they will try to kill you?” is just one of the explosive questions Carlson asks him in an interview at Trump’s home playground at his country club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
“Do you think we’re headed for civil war?” was another, along with, “What happened to Mike Pence?”
Interviewer Tucker Carlson fuels a heated interview on the X-Platform in which he asks former President Donald Trump if the nation is headed for civil war
That’s a nod to Trump’s former vice president, who is on the debate stage and ranked in the low single digits in polls, but vigorously dismisses Trump’s claims that he had an opportunity on Jan. 6 to turn down state-approved votes.
Trump said McConnell was “trying to get senators to impeach me.”
“I don’t think he’s going to make it to goal, but you never know,” he said of President Joe Biden, 80, in a remark that seems to indicate he believes his main rival will not survive.
“They are wild animals, they are sick people,” Trump says of his rivals
Trump decided to stay away from the Milwaukee debate even though he had a huge lead in the polls
The interview was pre-recorded. Carlson also asked Trump why he wasn’t attending the prime-time debate
Biden’s own campaign team criticized the interview before it came out as a “softball” interview promoting “conspiracy theories.”
“They are wild animals, they are sick people,” Trump said of his enemies in the clip.
“There’s a level of hate I’ve never seen,” he adds.
The prime-time drama comes hours before Trump plans to turn himself in to authorities in Fulton County, Georgia, on Thursday to have him edited and his mug shot taken after being convicted of extortion conspiracy related to his attempt to overturning the state election.
The first excerpts seem to indicate that Trump was able to fire free shots – without a moderator cutting his time or another candidate trying to undermine his own record or tenure.
“Corrupt Joe Biden is so bad, he’s the worst president in our country’s history,” Trump says in the clip, in a line that may have come from the Truth Social platform, which he owns.
His interview with Carlson took place in a carefully chosen location on X, a platform owned by Elon Musk, who unblocked Trump’s Twitter account.
Carlson was ousted from Fox after a massive settlement with Dominion Voting Systems, which was suing the broadcaster for spreading election conspiracy theories about its gear. The company settled for $787 million.
On Wednesday, the network is trying to lure viewers to its prime-time debate in Milwaukee, in a swing state Trump won in 2016 but lost in 2020.
In texts released during the litigation, it was revealed that on January 4, 2020, Carlson wrote:
“Most nights we’re very, very close to being able to ignore Trump.’ I really can’t wait.’ He then wrote, “I hate him passionately.”
But his platform offers an advantage for both men. Carlson is able to reestablish himself while elbowing down the network that dumped him while continuing to pay his hefty salary. Trump is allowed to go on the air without his rivals gaining an advantage over him.
Carlson also asked Trump why he did not participate in the debate. Rivals including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis have described that he is afraid to show up. Trump has said he had a huge head start and it wasn’t necessary.