After Donald Trump trounced Marco Rubio in his home state and kicked the Florida senator one last time, the real estate mogul made a decision that could help him further dispense with the competition. Or maybe not? Trump announced that he would not attend next Monday’s Fox News GOP debate in Salt Lake City, Utah. He’s doing this mainly because he can do so. Trump could probably sleep his way to the nomination at this point, and there have already been three such Fox News events for Republicans. He insulted his way through the first and third ones but skipped the second shindig. Maybe that omission cost him an Idaho win, but he came back stronger.
In the end, Trump decided he’d rather speak elsewhere (at a conference for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington, D.C.) instead of a 13th Republican debate. Of course, this will cost the cable network millions in advertising dollars, and Trump knows this. In response, John Kasich decided he wasn’t showing up either, but he’s not pleased about the cancellation. Here’s Trump’s rationale as told to Fox and Friends:
“I think we have had enough debates. We have had 11 or 12 debates. I did really well on the last one. I think I have done well in all the debates, but I think we’ve had enough. How many times can the same people ask you the same question? … I’m making a very major speech in front of a very important group of people.”
Trump has had enough, ladies and gents, but Kasich’s camp was looking forward to working magic ahead of the Utah primary. The Ohio governor’s strategist, John Weaver, issued a statement to CBS News:
“Donald Trump’s decision to scuttle the Salt Lake City debate is disappointing, but not surprising. His values are out of step with the people of Utah. We had hoped to contrast Governor Kasich’s positive inclusive approach to problem solving with Trump’s campaign of division. If he changes his mind, we will be there.”
The funniest part of this whole mess, of course, is that CBS also spoke to Ted Cruz’s camp, who said Cruz was backing out because he is “not interested in debating himself.” Awww, poor Lyin’ Ted. For real though, Trump just stepped on Kasich’s strategy to capture some Utah voters before next Tuesday.