Trump Skips Iowa Debate

Donald Trump on Tuesday bowed out of the final Republican presidential debate before the leadoff Iowa caucuses, saying Fox News moderator Megyn Kelly is “a lightweight.”

With 48 hours to go before the faceoff, campaign manager Corey Lewandowski confirmed Trump’s decision Tuesday evening after a press conference in which Trump lashed out at Kelly and said she’d been “toying” with him.

“He will not be participating in the Fox News debate Thursday,” Lewandowski said immediately after the press conference.

Trump, who called his decision “pretty close to irrevocable” in the press conference, said he’d hold an Iowa event at the same time as the debate to raise money for wounded veterans. Iowa hosts the nation’s opening presidential primary contest on Monday.

“With me, they’re dealing with somebody that’s a little bit different. They can’t toy with me like they toy with everybody else,” he said. “Let them have their debate and let’s see how they do with the ratings.”

He added, “Why do I have to make Fox rich?”

Trump denied that he was afraid to debate, pointing out his participation and past performance, and reiterated his distaste for Kelly.

“This to me isn’t a reporter. This to me is just a lightweight. Megyn Kelly shouldn’t be in the debate. I don’t care about Megyn — when Megyn Kelly didn’t ask me a question, she made a statement last time, I thought it was inappropriate.”

On Tuesday night’s airing of her Fox News show, “The Kelly File,” Kelly said she’ll be at the debate, which will “go on with or without Mr. Trump.”

The Republican National Committee said the decision was up to Trump.

“Obviously we would love all of the candidates to participate, but each campaign ultimately makes their own decision what’s in their best interest,” said RNC chief strategist Sean Spicer.

Trump had suggested he might skip the Fox debate earlier in the day, drawing a sarcastic statement from the television network that “the Ayatollah and Putin both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they meet with him if he becomes president.”

“A nefarious source tells us that Trump has his own secret plan to replace the Cabinet with his Twitter followers to see if he should even go to those meetings,” the Fox statement said.

A Fox spokesman did not immediately respond to Trump’s decision.

The New York real estate mogul’s presence has helped produce massive ratings in the previous six Republican presidential debates. His decision leaves seven candidates to share the primetime stage Thursday: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.

“Let them have their debate. I’m going to raise money during that period of time for the wounded warriors and for the vets. Let Fox play its games,” Trump said.

He added, “I don’t think Iowa’s gonna care.”

At the very least, the high-profile debate feud serves as a major distraction in the Republican contest just six days before Iowa voters cast the first votes in the 2016 primary contest.

Trump, now locked in a tight race with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, has proven to be a master of commanding media attention at key moments. Among other things, he has called for a temporary ban on all Muslim immigrants and later questioned Cruz’s presidential eligibility given that he was born in Canada.

The provocative declarations have often left little oxygen in the race for his opponents.

(h/t Yahoo News)

Reality

By skipping the debate Trump lost Iowa to Ted Cruz.

Trump has had an issue with Kelly since she moderated a Republican presidential debate in August. He accused her of being unfairly harsh on him by asking him valid questions about past sexist and misogynist comments. Fox News is standing by its anchor, with a statement calling the attacks on her “sexist verbal assaults.”

Fox, responded with another statement emphasizing Trump’s agenda against Kelly and alleging that Lewandowski had personally threatened the anchor:

“We’re not sure how Iowans are going to feel about him walking away from them at the last minute, but it should be clear to the American public by now that this is rooted in one thing – Megyn Kelly, whom he has viciously attacked since August and has now spent four days demanding be removed from the debate stage.”

It is important to note that in 2012 when Michelle Bachmann skipped a debate hosted by Newsmax, someone had some choice critical words for her:

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Donald Trump Conducted Poll To Skip Fox News’ Debate

Donald Trump is polling his followers to figure out whether he should participate in Thursday’s Fox News debate.

Trump shared a Twitter poll with his followers asking if he should participate in the debate — considering that Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly will be one of the moderators.

In a corresponding Instagram video, Trump reiterated his criticism of Kelly’s supposed bias against him.

“Megyn Kelly is really biased against me. She knows that, I know that, everybody knows that,” Trump said. “Do you really think that she could be fair at a debate?”

Trump has participated in an on-again, off-again feud with Fox News and Kelly after she asked him a pointed question during the first GOP debate in August about his past comments directed at women. Trump suggested in a CNN interview Monday that he was unsure whether he would participate.

“I don’t think she can treat me fairly, actually. I think she’s very biased. And I don’t think she can treat me fairly. But that doesn’t mean I don’t do the debates. I like doing the debate. I’ve won every single debate, according to every poll,” he said.

Fox has brushed off Trump’s concerns, mocking the reality television star for his reluctance to participate in a debate moderated by Kelly.

In a statement to Business Insider, the network pointed out that the president needs to meet with world leaders who often do not treat the US fairly.

“We learned from a secret back channel that the Ayatollah and Putin both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they meet with him if he becomes president,” a Fox News spokesperson said, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. “A nefarious source tells us that Trump has his own secret plan to replace the Cabinet with his Twitter followers to see if he should even go to those meetings.”

On Monday, the network said it was “surprised” that the outspoken Republican front-runner appeared threatened by Kelly.

“Sooner or later Donald Trump, even if he’s president, is going to have to learn that he doesn’t get to pick the journalists — we’re very surprised he’s willing to show that much fear about being questioned by Megyn Kelly,” the Fox representative told Business Insider in a statement.

Reality

With 157,864 votes a majority of 56% said ‘yes’ to attending the GOP debate. Trump skipped the debate and lost Iowa to Ted Cruz.

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View this post on Instagram

Should I do the #GOPdebate?

A post shared by President Donald J. Trump (@realdonaldtrump) on

 

Donald Trump is Scared of Megyn Kelly

Trump has been accusing Megyn Kelly of unfair treatment ever since he stepped off stage at the first Fox News debate in August.

But he’s ratcheted up those attacks in recent days in an apparent attempt to influence the Fox News moderators ahead of Thursday’s debate.

“I don’t like her. She doesn’t treat me fairly. I’m not a big fan of hers at all,” Trump said during Monday’s interview.

He also claimed that he “might be the best thing that ever happened to her,” because no one had ever heard of her before the August debate.

Trump also suggested he might skip the debate unless he was confident Kelly would treat him fairly, but then walked back those remarks:

“I’ll see. If I think I’ll be treated unfairly, I’ll do something else,” he said. “I think she’s very biased and I don’t think she can treat me fairly, but that doesn’t mean I don’t do the debate. I like doing the debates.”

And last week, Trump tweeted that Kelly “should not be allowed” to moderate the debate because of her “conflict of interest and bias.”

(h/t CNN)

Reality

Fox responded, “Sooner or later Donald Trump, even if he’s president, is going to have to learn that he doesn’t get to pick the journalists — we’re very surprised he’s willing to show that much fear about being questioned by Megyn Kelly.”

Trump’s indecision was echoed by Lewandowski, who told New York, “We haven’t said he’ll be there, and we haven’t said he won’t be there. The bottom line is Megyn Kelly shouldn’t be rewarded for her media bias.”

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Trump Tweets Disappointment Megyn Kelly Will Moderate Debate

Twitter

Donald Trump retweeted several attacks on Megyn Kelly as a moderator of the Fox News/Google debate a few days before the event on Twitter.

“@Sharp_Trident: A huge disappointment to see @megynkelly constantly attack DonaldTrump. It has become almost unbearable to watch her show.”

Reality

Trump has had an issue with Kelly since she moderated a Republican presidential debate in August. He accused her of being unfairly harsh on him by asking him valid questions about past sexist and misogynist comments. Fox News is standing by its anchor, calling the attacks on her “sexist verbal assaults.”

 

Trump Retweets Megyn Kelly Can’t Contain Bias

Twitter

Donald Trump retweeted several attacks on Megyn Kelly as a moderator of the Fox News/Google debate a few days before the event on Twitter. This one had the added bonus of the debunked conspiracy theory that a Saudi Prince that Megyn Kelly is friends with owns Fox news.

“@Crusade4Honesty: @BornToBeGOP @megynkelly Megan can not contain her bias, it’s in every show, Fox owners Saudi Prince agnstT”

Reality

I’m not going to defend Megyn Kelly too hard here. Crusade4Honesty may have a point.

Trump has had an issue with Kelly since she moderated a Republican presidential debate in August. He accused her of being unfairly harsh on him by asking him valid questions about past sexist and misogynist comments. Fox News is standing by its anchor, calling the attacks on her “sexist verbal assaults.”

Trump Rekindles Feud With Megyn Kelly Ahead of Fox News Debate

Trump’s feud with Megan Kelly has been one of the most memorable storylines of this raucous GOP primary. In recent weeks, it has heated up. In a lengthy Vanity Fair profile this month, Kelly boasted of writing the now-famous debate question about Trump’s history of misogynistic comments, which ignited the feud this summer. And last week, Kelly sarcastically brought up Sarah Palin’s Trump endorsement, as well as hosted National Review editor Rich Lowry to promote the National Review’s anti-Trump issue.

Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, indicated that Trump could walk away from the debate if Fox won’t exclude Kelly. “Let’s see what happens,” he told me. “It’s fair to say Mr. Trump is a significant ratings driver for these debates. If we aren’t on stage for some reason, they wouldn’t have the record 24 million viewers and would be back with 1-2 million people.”

In the past, the Republican National Committee has banned media it deems unfair. It canceled a debate on NBC, and excluded the Manchester Union Leader and National Review after both outlets attacked Trump. But in this case, the RNC won’t be getting involved. “It’s up to Fox,” Sean Spicer, the Republican National Committee chief strategist, told me.

In a statement to reporters, Fox News spokesperson Irena Briganti said: “Megyn Kelly has no conflict of interest. Donald Trump is just trying to build up the audience for Thursday’s debate, for which we thank him.”

For Fox News chief Roger Ailes, Trump’s threat of a debate boycott raises the stakes in a war that Ailes has struggled to develop a playbook for. Historically, Ailes’s strategy in situations where his stars are attacked is to follow a version of the Powell Doctrine: Apply overwhelming force. But Trump’s popularity with the GOP base — that is, Fox viewers — has forced Ailes to make a choice between his audience and Kelly. In the wake of the first debate, Ailes was said to be rattled by the volume of anti-Kelly emails Fox News received from Trump supporters. Kelly told people she was receiving death threats, and Fox did not have a ready response. Ailes, who is less of a presence at Fox, now has to make another choice, which could result in the GOP front runner walking away.

Lewandowski, Trump’s campaign manager, told me Trump could stage his own televised town hall on Thursday night and let Fox’s rivals air it. “That would be a great idea,” he said.

Trump Tweets Megyn Kelly Should Not Moderate Debates

Twitter

Donald Trump voiced his disapproval of Megyn Kelly as a moderator of the Fox News/Google debate a few days before the event on Twitter. Trump made similar comments in a campaign rally in Iowa the same day.

Based on @MegynKelly’s conflict of interest and bias she should not be allowed to be a moderator of the next debate.

(h/t Politifact)

Reality

Trump has had an issue with Kelly since she moderated a Republican presidential debate in August. He accused her of being unfairly harsh on him by asking him valid questions about past sexist and misogynist comments.

Fox responded, “Megyn Kelly has no conflict of interest. Donald Trump is just trying to build up the audience for Thursday’s debate, for which we thank him.”

Trump repeated his position that Kelly “should recuse herself from the upcoming Fox News debate,” according to Boston Globe reporter James Pindell.

Donald Trump Gives Out Lindsey Graham’s Cellphone Number

Speaking in front of hundreds at a rally in South Carolina on Tuesday, Donald Trump read a number he said people could use to reach South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham’s private cell phone, telling his supporters to “try it.”

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Links

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/07/donald-trump-gives-out-lindsey-grahams-cell-phone-number-120414

Trump Tweets Attack on Jeb Bush for ‘Speaking Mexican’

Twitter

Donald Trump attacked Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush on Twitter by quoting a fan taking issue with the fact that Bush “speaks Mexican.”

Reality

First off, people don’t speak “Mexican”, they speak Spanish.

Second, the purely racist trope “you’re in America speak English” has been so overplayed by Republicans. Forget the fact that the United States has no official language, there is no requirement outside of lawyers to speak English. The reason why it is racist is because it makes an assumption that one language and culture is superior to another.

Finally, most of you can’t speak English yourselves so how can you push it on someone else?

Links

https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/635998754546548737

Trump Rumors Megyn Kelly Took Vacation Because Of Him

Megyn Kelly announces 10 day vacation.

Donald Trump thinks Megyn Kelly‘s vacation could very well be because of his feud with her over her “inappropriate” questions at the first Republican primary debate.

Kelly asked famously tough questions of Trump during the televised debate, and several days later the real estate mogul made his infamous comment to CNN that she had “blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her… wherever.” Fox News CEO Roger Ailes and Trump eventually had a phone call to “clear the air.”

On Wednesday evening, Kelly told her Kelly File viewers that she will take a long overdue 10-day vacation to spend some time with her husband and children.

Newsmax TV host Steve Malzberg asked Trump: “Do you think there was any connection to have her go away for a while in the wake of what she did?”

The GOP candidate replied: “Well, there probably was, but I wouldn’t know anything about it.” But he added: “People were very surprised that, all the sudden, she decided to go away for 10 days… Some people make those quick decisions.”

Contrary to that, however, a Fox News representative told Mediaite that Kelly’s vacation had been planned long in advance. Nevertheless, Trump said he hopes “she is well” and that she returns to be “fair,” presumably to him.

(h/t Mediaite)

Reality

We’re not Megyn Kelly’s boss so we’re not privy to when she requested her time off. Until actual evidence is presented otherwise we should take Fox News at their word, and their response is actually pretty priceless:

“The conspiracy theories about Megyn Kelly’s vacation rank up there with UFO’s, the moon landing and Elvis being alive. Megyn is on a pre-planned, annual summer vacation with her family, which is much deserved. To imply otherwise as Donald Trump and his campaign operatives have is not only wildly irresponsible, but downright bizarre. Perhaps Mr. Trump thinks it’s advantageous to his poll numbers to keep talking about Megyn, but that doesn’t change the fact that Roger Ailes has fully supported her and her tough journalistic questioning since day one and is thrilled with the added exposure from the debate which resulted in even higher ratings of The Kelly File this week. Anyone who knows Roger is aware of how historically and consistently loyal he is to all of his talent and how he protects them at all costs. As Governor Terry Branstad said today, ‘when you’re a candidate, you’ve got to basically answer the questions. You can’t just attack the person asking the questions. That doesn’t work.’”

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