If there was any doubt that Donald Trump was feeling confident about his chances in the upcoming Iowa caucuses, let those doubts be laid to rest. Due to his ongoing feud with Fox News personality Megyn Kelly, Trump has announced that he will not show up to Thursday’s Republican debate – the last one before Iowans cast their votes.
For the last week, Trump has re-ignited his war of words with Kelly, noting on Twitter that she could not be fair and impartial. He threatened several times to pull out of the debate if Kelly was not removed from the moderating panel. However, it seemed that the final straw was when Fox News issued a sarcastic statement mocking Trump for fearing their star reporter. The channel said they “learned from a secret back channel that the Ayatollah and Putin both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they meet with him.” They surmised that Trump “has his own secret plan to replace the Cabinet with his Twitter followers to see if he should even go to these meetings.”
In response, Trump made up his mind. “Bye, Bye,” to put it in the real estate mogul’s exact terms.
“Why should the networks continue to get rich on the debates?” Trump asked reporters. “Why do I have to make Fox rich?”
Trump has not made specific plans regarding an alternative event, but he has hinted that he might run a rally for veterans at the same time. If another channel such as MSNBC or CNN picks up the feed for that event, it could turn into a ratings showdown: Trump vs. the rest of the Republican field. Is there any doubt who would win that battle?
Of course, the point of a primary season is not to see which candidate can draw the most viewers, but then again, the point of a news organization like Fox is not to harangue and humiliate presidential candidates who have a legitimate gripe with bias. Whether Trump is right or wrong to skip this debate, no one can pretend that Kelly didn’t have it out for him at the last one. That may or may not have been Kelly flying solo – she was probably just doing her boss’s bidding – but now that it’s become an ongoing thing, you can’t blame Trump for being suspicious of what he might be running into Thursday night. Fox’s press release only seemed to confirm ulterior motives.