Former President Donald Trump has made it clear that he intends to boycott the initial Republican debate in 2024 due to his dissatisfaction with the coverage provided by Fox News, one of the event’s sponsors. Trump expressed his frustration over Fox News’ failure to air his recent campaign speeches in Washington, D.C., and Michigan. He argued that it is unjust for the network to expect him to participate in their “Presidential” Debate, especially considering his commanding lead in the polls by 40 points, as he stated on Truth Social.
Many supporters of Trump are concerned about the possibility of biased moderation, citing instances such as the 2016 encounter when former Fox News host Megyn Kelly asked Trump about his comments regarding women, framing it as a lecture rather than a fair question for a presidential candidate when she asked “You’ve called women you don’t like fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals. Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president?”
Another example cited is the 2020 incident involving former Fox News host Chris Wallace, who appeared to act as a safety net for Joe Biden by frequently interrupting Trump, attempting to correct him, and neglecting to fact-check Biden’s claim that the Hunter Biden laptop was “Russian disinformation.”
Consequently, despite Fox News being expected to provide a favorable environment for former President Trump, it has consistently acted as an adversary during both of his elections, solely focusing on bolstering his opponents.
Considering Fox News’s close association with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, the alliance formed with Karl Rove, who held significant roles as Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff during the George W. Bush administration and currently supports DeSantis, and the inclusion of establishment figure Paul Ryan, a never-Trump Republican in their board of directors, it is highly likely that their intentions will revolve around shielding DeSantis while attempting to undermine Trump at every possible opportunity.
Trump’s recent threat to boycott the debate has generated increasing pressure from fellow Republicans who are eager for him to participate in the upcoming debates, starting with the one scheduled for August in Milwaukee. Reince Priebus, former Chief of Staff in the Trump administration and chairman of the Republican Party, expressed his belief during an interview on ABC’s “This Week” that Trump would eventually join the debates. However, it remains uncertain whether he will appear in the first debate or not.