Former President Donald Trump counter-programmed the 2024 Republican primary debate Wednesday night by sitting down for an exclusive interview with Daily Caller co-founder Tucker Carlson in Bedminster, New Jersey.
The former president told Carlson why he skipped the first Republican Nation Committee (RNC) debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The former president confirmed Sunday he would skip the primary debates in a Truth Social post, and instead agreed to sit down for a pre-recorded interview with Carlson to compete with the debates.
“Why aren’t you at the Fox News debate tonight in Milwaukee?” Carlson asked.
“Well, you know, a lot of people have been asking me that and many people said you shouldn’t do them but you know, the polls have come out and I’m leading by 50-60 points and you know, some of them are at 1 and 0 and two. And I’m saying do I sit there for an hour or two hours whatever it’s going to be and gets harassed by people that shouldn’t even be running for president. They shouldn’t be doing that and a network [Fox News] that isn’t particularly friendly to me, frankly.”
Trump said Fox News is friendly to Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, his biggest rival in the race, but that the network’s support is not paying off.
Ep. 19 Debate Night with Donald J Trump pic.twitter.com/ayPfII48CO
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) August 24, 2023
Trump said the ratings will be higher on Carlson’s “crazy forum” than the debate.
He then claimed his political opponents will attempt to steal the 2024 presidential election if he wins and explained why they would possibly even want to kill him.
“It started with protesting against you, then it moved to impeachment twice, and now indictments,” Carlson said. “Are you worried that they’re going to try and kill you? Why wouldn’t they try to kill you, honestly?”
“They’re savage animals. They are people that are sick,” Trump answered.
The former president also told Carlson whether the U.S. is “on the brink of civil war.”
Trump touted his lead in the Republican primary race in his Truth Social post Sunday.
“New CBS POLL, just out, has me leading the field by ‘legendary’ numbers,” Trump wrote on Truth Social. “TRUMP 62%, 46 Points above DeSanctimonious (who is crashing like an ailing bird!), Ramaswamy 7%, Pence 5%, Scott 3%, Haley 2%, Sloppy Chris Christie 2%, “Aida” Hutchinson 1%. The public knows who I am & what a successful Presidency I had, with Energy Independence, Strong Borders & Military, Biggest EVER Tax & Regulation Cuts, No Inflation, Strongest Economy in History, & much more. I WILL THEREFORE NOT BE DOING THE DEBATES!”
The first primary debate was held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and moderated by Fox News’ Martha MacCallum and Bret Baier.
The former president has continued to be the frontrunner in the primary race consisting of 14 declared candidates. He currently polls at 52.2% as of Monday, while Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is in second with 15.2% favorability, according to FiveThirtyEight. (RELATED: ‘Lied To From The Beginning’: RFK Jr Discusses JFK Assassination, Ukraine War With Tucker Carlson)
Trump’s aides have said he is unlikely to participate in the debates in previous months. Republican consultants told the Daily Caller News Foundation that it is “not in his interest” for Trump to participate in the debates.
Carlson has conducted interviews with every major Republican presidential candidate. He interviewed every candidate besides Trump during a July 14 event hosted by Blaze TV in Iowa. He recently interviewed Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy in an hour-long discussion released Thursday.
The Daily Caller co-founder launched his show, “Tucker on Twitter,” after departing from Fox News in April. Fox News has accused Carlson of breaching their $20 million contract by releasing interviews before the agreement’s expiration in January 2025.