The initial storyline of the Fox News Repiblican debate was that of return. Senator Rand Paul is returning to the main debate stage and former Governor Jim Gilmore is returning to a debate stage, albeit the undercard stage. However, departure is now overshadowing the debate as frontrunner Donald Trump has announced that he will be skipping the Fox News debate and will instead hold a charity event for veterans in Iowa.
The spat between Donald Trump and Fox News, particularly Megyn Kelly, dates back to the first Republican debate, also on Fox News. Trump alleged that the Fox News questioning towards him was unfair and he said that Megyn Kelly had “blood coming out of her wherever.” Trump later clarified that statement to mean her nose. Kelly and Fox News PR have fired back at Trump throughout the ordeal, saying that Trump does not get to control the media and should be able to handle tough questions.
Trump started raising the possibility of skipping the debate earlier in the week. He also started a Twitter poll for users to vote whether or not he participate. Fox News responded with a snide remark joking that Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Iranian Ayatollah would treat a President Trump “unfairly” and that he would replace his Cabinet with Twitter followers. Trump called it a “wise-guy press release.”
The Trump campaign said that Trump “will not be participating in the FOX News debate and will instead host an event in Iowa to raise money for the Veterans and Wounded Warriors.”
Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, said that the matter is settled and not a “negotiation.”