POLITICS

Donald Trump Is Skipping Out On Another Debate

The businessman says he didn't know any more were scheduled.

UPDATE: 1:45 p.m. --The scheduled Republican presidential debate in Utah was canceled Wednesday afternoon after Donald Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich both said they would not take part.

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Donald Trump is skipping next week's Fox News debate to address the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference, he said Wednesday.

"I'll be honest. Nobody even told me about it," Trump said Wednesday morning during a phone interview with FOX & Friends. "As you saw, I thought the last debate on CNN was the last debate, that was going to be it. I'm doing a major speech in front of a very important group of people, I think it's eight or nine thousand people, that night."

Dan Senor, who advised Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)'s campaign, questioned whether the speech served as an excuse to avoid going to the debate.

Trump himself didn't sound especially regretful to be missing out.

"We've had 11 or 12 debates," he said. "I did really well on the last one. I think I've done well in all the debates. According to Drudge and everybody else, I won the debates. But I think we've had enough. How many times can the same people ask you the same question? So I was very surprised when I heard that Fox called for a debate."

(To fact check: there have indeed been 12 debates so far. Reader polls like the ones on Drudge, which Trump loves to cite, are absolutely meaningless.)

Trump's announcement also drew flak from his rival, Ohio Gov. John Kasich. John Weaver, the Kasich campaign's chief strategist, called the decision "disappointing but not surprising" in a statement.

Weaver also seemed to suggest in a Twitter post that Kasich wouldn't attend the debate if Trump wasn't there.

Trump previously skipped a Fox debate in January before the Iowa caucuses, a decision the network attributed to his ongoing feud with moderator Megyn Kelly.

While his absence clearly didn't deal a lasting blow to his campaign, there's evidence that it did hurt him among voters in Iowa, which he acknowledged. The businessman has showed up to every debate since, including another event that Kelly moderated.

Editor's note: Donald Trump is a serial liarrampant xenophoberacistmisogynist, birther and bully who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims -- 1.6 billion members of an entire religion -- from entering the U.S.

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