Trump tries to bury Republican primary debate

The former president broadcasted a conversation with the controversial presenter Tucker Carlson through social networks, just before the start of the first GOP primary debate

Donald Trump at a rally in Des Moines, Iowa
Donald Trump at a rally in Des Moines, Iowa.Charlie Neibergall (AP)
Miguel Jiménez

Donald Trump decided to become the great absence of the first Republican Party debate of primary candidates for the 2020 presidential elections. In his eagerness for the limelight, however, he could not simply stay on the sidelines. Just as the debate was about to begin, the controversial broadcaster Tucker Carlson posted on X, the network formerly known as Twitter, an interview he recorded with the former president a few days ago. With it, he is trying to attract the spotlight and bury the debate.

In the interview, Trump explains why he has not come to the Milwaukee debate. “Do I sit there for an hour or two hours, whatever it’s going to be, and get harassed by people that shouldn’t even be running for president? Should I be doing that at a network that isn’t particularly friendly to me?” Trump said in the 46-minute interview. “I’m going to have all these people screaming at me, shouting questions at me, all of which I love answering, I love doing. But it doesn’t make sense to do them, so I’m taking a pass,” he added.

He also lashed out at his expected rival in the 2024 presidential election. “Joe Biden is the worst president in the history of our country,” he said.

With a dedicated interviewer asking him whether he did not fear being killed after having been impeached, and indicted four times, Trump replied: “They’re savage animals; they’re people that are sick.”

The counter-programming interview is a double affront to the conservative Fox network, owned by tycoon Rupert Murdoch. First, because it is the network broadcasting Wednesday’s debate. Second, because Fox fired Carlson in April following the defamation lawsuit that cost the network nearly $800 million. And at the moment, it has open legal disputes with its former star anchor, who is still being paid his multimillion-dollar contract, but demands that he not work for other media outlets.

In the midst of a sweltering heat, hours before the debate, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene said in statements to EL PAÍS and Catalunya Radio at the gates of the venue where it was held, the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, that what the eight candidates should do is to withdraw and support Trump to return to the White House.

The Georgia congresswoman, known by her initials MTG, acknowledged that this was not going to happen because “because they still have donors and their campaign and consultants are still getting paid.” MTG is among those who recommended Trump not to attend the Milwaukee debate: “I told him not to come because it’s a waste of time. He’s winning the primary. There’s no reason to step on the stage. He has nothing to prove to these candidates, he’s already proven to America with four years in the White House. We just want that back on, President Trump back in the White House.”

Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson, also speaking to reporters in Milwaukee before the debate, disagreed: “I would have liked to see President Trump here.” In any case, the main task of whoever ends up being elected should be, in his opinion, “to unify the country, not divide it.” “That’s what President Biden promised to do, and he has done the opposite.”

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