Donald Trump is pulling another, very Trump-ish move. He declared that he is skipping the last Republican debate before the primaries begin, which airs on Fox News Thursday night.
This comes as a reaction to a showdown with Fox News over the moderator of the debate, Megyn Kelly. On Tuesday, Trump demanded that Fox News remove Kelly from moderating the event, referring to Kelly as biased in an Instagram video. Fox News didn’t listen, so Trump walked out of the debate lineup.
“Let’s see how much money Fox is going to make on the debate without me,” said Trump at a news conference in Iowa, according to the New York Times. His campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, claimed that Fox’s ratings for Thursday’s debate could drop from 20-25 million views to as little as 1 million or 2 million viewers.
Fox News issued a statement in response to Trump’s announcement, writing “Capitulating to politicians’ ultimatums about a debate moderator violates all journalistic standards, as do threats, including the one leveled by Trump’s campaign manager…Lewandowski stated that Megyn had a ‘rough couple of days after that last debate’ and he ‘would hate to have her go through that again.’” Fox News promised not to give into any “terrorizations” toward their employees.
The previous debate Lewandowski referred to took place in August, when Kelly asked Donald Trump if some of his remarks were a “part of the war on women.” Since then, Trump has often attacked Kelly, calling her a “third-rate” reporter and saying flat-out that he didn’t like her. Fox News accused Trump of being afraid of Kelly’s questioning again.
.@brithume: “What [Trump’s] not free to do & what no news organization would allow, would be for him to… dictate the terms of the debate.”
— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) January 27, 2016
Fellow GOP candidate Ted Cruz agreed, saying, “If Donald is afraid to defend his record, that speaks volumes…I promise you, [Vladimir] Putin is a lot scarier than Megyn Kelly.”
Trump went on to say, “It’s time somebody plays grown up.” However, politicians don’t get to pick and choose the journalists who cover them. Boycotting the debate over disliking a moderator doesn’t sound very “grown-up” to me, Mr. Trump.