Controversial Republican front runner, Donald Trump will widen a rupture between his supporters and the Republican Party establishment on Thursday when he boycotts a presidential debate in a snub to Fox News, days before the Iowa caucus. The billionaire front-runner for the Republican nomination will instead host his own event in Iowa during the Fox News debate. Trump withdrew from the encounter in a spat with network anchor Megyn Kelly who he accuses of treating him unfairly.
Trump calls debate a disaster
“The ‘debate’ tonight will be a total disaster,” Trump said in a Twitter post on Thursday morning. “Low ratings with advertisers and advertising rates dropping like a rock. I hate to see this.” A Fox News spokesperson rejected Trump’s statement, saying “The debate is completely sold out. No rates have changed and there are no advertisers who have backed out.” Trump’s move might be a risky gamble ahead of Monday’s Iowa caucuses, the first nominating contest in the Nov. 8 presidential election.
Trump divides the Republicans, holds alternative event
Donald Trump got support for his actions on Thursday when two Republican candidates, Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee, agreed to attend his alternative event, a fundraiser for veterans at Iowa’s Drake University, during the Fox News debate. The pair, social conservatives who have long been at odds with the more mainstream Republican establishment, had been relegated to Fox News’ “undercard” debate of the candidates with low polling which takes place earlier than the full-blown debate.
Republicans rivals rubbishes Trump
According to Reuters, GOP rivals like Senator Ted Cruz have accused real estate magnate, Trump, of being too afraid to face them in the debate and conservative pundits have criticized the move. While some of Trump’s fans were supportive of his decision, others worried that he was wasting an opportunity by snubbing Fox News. “This was valuable time for him. Why is he giving this up?” said Dale Ranney, a volunteer for Trump’s campaign in South Carolina. “He could have had veteran fundraising on another night. He doesn’t have to make a stand just because he doesn’t like Megyn Kelly.” Trump’s rivals view the debate as a chance to get their own messages across without having to compete with Trump’s bomb-throwing rhetoric.