Fox News Cancels GOP Debate After Trump and Kasich Back Out
Fox News is set to cancel the upcoming Republican debate after Donald Trump and John Kasich backed out.
“Ted Cruz has expressed a willingness to debate Trump or Kasich – or both. But obviously, there needs to be more than one participant,” Fox executive vice president Michael Clemente said in a statement.
The Hill reports:
Trump announced early Wednesday that he would not show up for the debate, saying there have been “enough” debates and noting he’d be speaking at a pro-Jewish rally on Monday.
Instead of appearing at the debate, Trump said he would be making a “major speech” at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference, he announced Wednesday on “Fox and Friends.”
“I thought the last debate on CNN was the last debate, that was going to be it. Nobody told me there were going to be more debates,” Trump said. “I think we’ve had enough debates.”
The Salt Lake City debate was added to the primary schedule in February, and slated to take pace after a dozen high-profile debates that have featured slugfests among candidates and been ratings blockbusters.
After Trump signaled that he wouldn’t be appearing, Kasich followed suit, suggesting, however, that the businessman could still change his mind to face off against Kasich and Cruz.
Kasich strategist John Weaver tweeted earlier Wednesday, “No debate in SLC Monday due to Trump backing out. No surprise Trump avoiding contrast. Utah: @JohnKasich headed your way Fri.”
Fox noted that the RNC’s offer to the cable channel to host the debate was contingent upon “enough candidates actively campaigning.” But Clemente acknowledged in the statement only one candidate would have been on stage.
“This morning, Donald Trump announced he would not be participating in the debate. Shortly afterward, John Kasich’s campaign announced that without Trump at the debate, Kasich would not participate.”
A representative with the Republican National Committee did not immediately return a request for comment from The Hill.
Read the full statement from Clemente:
“On Feb. 20, the Republican National Committee announced that a GOP presidential primary debate would be held on March 21 in Salt Lake City. They offered that debate to Fox News Channel to host, provided there were enough candidates actively campaigning. This morning, Donald Trump announced he would not be participating in the debate. Shortly afterward, John Kasich’s campaign announced that without Trump at the debate, Kasich would not participate. Ted Cruz has expressed a willingness to debate Trump or Kasich — or both. But obviously, there needs to be more than one participant. So the Salt Lake City debate is cancelled.”
Photo credit: Dispatch.