Trump Threatens To Blow Up RNC's 2024 Primary Debate Schedule

The former president, who is facing multiple criminal investigations, says that no one consulted him before scheduling the first two debates

Donald Trump, who is under criminal investigation for his coup attempt as well as other matters, on Tuesday threatened to upend the Republican Party’s 2024 primary debate plans because it scheduled the first two without his “approval.”

The former president hinted that he might not participate in the debates.

“I see that everybody is talking about the Republican Debates, but nobody got my approval, or the approval of the Trump Campaign, before announcing them,” Trump wrote on his personal Internet platform, Truth Social. “When you’re leading by seemingly insurmountable numbers, and you have hostile Networks with angry, TRUMP & MAGA hating anchors asking the ‘questions,’ why subject yourself to being libeled and abused?”

“Also, the Second Debate is being held at the Reagan Library, the Chairman of which is, amazingly, Fred Ryan, Publisher of The Washington Post. NO!” Trump continued.

The Republican National Committee set the first debate for late August in Milwaukee, which will be the site of its 2024 nominating convention the following summer. It scheduled another debate a month or so later at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.

The RNC rules require it to remain neutral in the presidential primaries when there is no incumbent Republican in the White House, so it is unclear what role Trump expected to play in setting the debate schedule.

David Bossie, chair of the RNC debate committee and a former Trump campaign official in both 2016 and 2020, did not respond to HuffPost’s queries, but a Republican familiar with the party’s discussions said that the GOP is committed to holding debates and is proceeding ahead.

The committee thus far has focused on creating a format that will allow as many candidates as possible to participate in the first debate, which is to be televised by Fox News, but then increasing polling and unique donor requirements moving forward to weed out candidates who seem unlikely to win.

Oscar Brock, an RNC member from Tennessee, said the Reagan Library is a great venue for a debate that also happens to honor “one of the best presidents” in U.S. history. “Why wouldn’t you want to do it at the Reagan Library?” he said. “I’m sorry that the former president… feels that he’ll be treated unfairly.”

Vivek Ramaswamy, a biotech entrepreneur and one of the three announced GOP candidates apart from Trump, said Republicans, unlike Democrats, are not afraid of debates. “We in the Republican Party need to stand for the fact that, yes, we mean what we say,” he said in a statement that failed to mention Trump by name. “We shouldn’t be the party that’s afraid of debate.”

Trump is leading the field of announced and potential candidates by wide margins nationally and by smaller margins in early-voting states.

Trump pulled a similar tactic in 2016, when he refused to participate in the last Iowa debate before the state’s caucuses because Megyn Kelly ― who had asked Trump about his misogynistic attacks on women at the first debate months earlier ― was to be a moderator. He instead scheduled a campaign event to compete with it.

The boycott appeared to backfire, however, as Trump, who had been leading in the Iowa polls, wound up losing narrowly there to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Trump returned to participate in the remaining debates that the RNC sponsored.

Trump has already been indicted by a New York City grand jury for falsifying business records to hide a $130,000 hush money payment to a porn star in the days before the 2016 election. The district attorney in Fulton County, Georgia, indicated in a new court filing that she intends to decide on potential charges against Trump and others this summer regarding his campaign’s attempt to overturn his 2020 election loss in that state. And the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating Trump’s broader efforts to remain in power despite losing, which culminated in the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of his followers on Jan. 6, 2021.

The DOJ is also investigating Trump’s refusal to turn over top-secret documents he was keeping at his Florida country club in defiance of a subpoena.

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