Businessman Donald Trump, the frontrunner in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, will not participate in this week’s debate on Fox News, claiming the network is biased against him.
Trump’s decision came after he targeted Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, who during the first Fox News debate questioned him on his treatment of women. “Based on conflict of interest and bias she should not be allowed to be a moderator of the next debate,” he said in a tweet last week.
Trump has since continued to criticize Kelly’s alleged inability to remain unbiased in her reporting and threatened to boycott the debate. He said on Tuesday that he did not want to be “used” for ratings and his campaign announced shortly afterwards that the businessman had decided not to go.
“Mr. Trump knows a bad deal when he sees one,” his campaign said in a statement. “Unlike the very stupid, highly incompetent people running our country into the ground, Mr. Trump knows when to walk away. (Fox News CEO) Roger Ailes and FOX News think they can toy with him, but Mr. Trump doesn’t play games.”
The campaign statement added: “He will not be participating in the FOX News debate and will instead host an event in Iowa to raise money for the Veterans and Wounded Warriors, who have been treated so horribly by our all talk, no action politicians. Like running for office as an extremely successful person, this takes guts and it is the kind mentality our country needs in order to Make America Great Again.”
Earlier on Tuesday, after Trump posted a poll on Twitter in which he asked whether he should go to the debate, Fox News released a statement in which it mocked Trump, saying: “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 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.”
More than 126,000 people had voted in the Twitter poll as of 10:30 p.m. ET, and 59 percent said Trump should participate in the debate.
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