Former President Donald Trump has skipped out on the first four Republican primary debates and is skipping a fifth one to be hosted as things heat up for the 2024 presidential election.
What Happened: A fifth Republican debate is scheduled to take place in Des Moines, Iowa on Jan. 10 at 9 p.m. ET. Similar to past debates, Trump will skip the event for his own programming.
The fifth debate will air on CNN, a unit of Warner Bros. Discovery WBD, with Trump, Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley the only Republican candidates that qualified for the event. Chris Christie and Vivek Ramaswamy, who were part of previous debates, failed to qualify based on polling requirements, according to Politico.
Trump will skip the debate and instead be part of a town hall event that will air on Fox News on Jan. 10 at 9 p.m. ET, coming in direct clash with the debate.
“With only three candidates qualifying, it’s time for Donald Trump to show up,” Haley said in a recent statement. “As the debate stage continues to shrink, it’s getting harder for Donald Trump to hide.”
Why It’s Important: Trump’s town hall on Fox News could come as a surprise, as parent company Fox Corporation FOXFOXA and the former president have had a contentious relationship in recent years.
Debate ratings have dipped for Republican events not featuring Trump, compared to those he attended in the past. Simultaneous broadcasts on different networks could reveal whether Trump’s presence draws more viewers.
Trump’s town hall comes as he was temporarily removed from 2024 election ballots in the states of Colorado and Maine and faces more challenges related to the role he played in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Trump will have plenty to talk about with less than a year until the 2024 presidential election.
Ramaswamy called the upcoming fifth debate a “fake Iowa debate” and labeled it as likely “the most boring in modern history.”