Trump Will Steal Oxygen From GOP Debate Whether He’s There Or Not

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Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump smiles during the Republican Presidential Debate in Detroit, Michigan, March 3, 2016. (Photo by Geoff Robins / AFP) (Photo by GEOFF ROBINS/AFP via Getty Images)
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Donald Trump still has not indicated one way or the other whether he plans to attend the first Republican primary debate next week, put on by the RNC and Fox News. The event will almost certainly be entirely about him whether he’s there or not.

As he leads in the primary field by a not-even-close margin, his opponents are reportedly planning to use his legal woes as debate fodder, NBC News reported. Both Mike Pence and Ron DeSantis are already using his latest indictment in Georgia this week to bolster their own campaigns — seizing on Trump’s ongoing hysterics about the election being stolen in Georgia in 2020 as an opportunity to draw a contrast, presenting themselves as the Reasonable Guys who believe the election was legit.

Fox News executives have been trying to entice Trump to get in on next week’s action since the eve of his last indictment, but his allies and legal advisers are reportedly steering him away from participating. One former senior campaign official told NBC News that his 30 point lead in national polls should make the decision for the Trump 2024 campaign: “There’s no reason he should debate,” the former aide said.

Whether he attends or not he, as the effective leader of the Republican Party, will be the focus. Some in the media are even raising theories about how he could steal even more oxygen from the debate stage. That same former senior campaign aide told NBC earlier this week that it’s a “smart” idea for Trump to turn himself in in Atlanta right as his 2024 rivals attempt to debate boring policy issues.

Trump and the rest of his 18 indicted allies have until August 25 at noon to turn themselves in at the Fulton County jail for booking. Local officials have upped security and cleared a media staging area nearby, expecting each arrest to attract a media circus, obviously, and especially Trump’s.

It’s the kind of move that one could expect from the one-time reality TV star who brought those dubious talents to the presidency. Especially now that he re-upped his years-long feud with Fox today — this time because the network supposedly isn’t airing polls where he is beating Joe Biden. But mostly because they keep using the “absolutely worst pictures” of him live on the air.

Who among us likes how we look with our “chin pulled way back”?

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Notable Replies

  1. Avatar for dont dont says:

    Which of his chins is pulled way back? First, second or third?
    All the above?

  2. The Bulwark is already on it!

    It would not surprise me—at all—if Trump chooses to surrender himself on August 23. He’d then take over the entire news cycle that day with its wall-to-wall coverage of the fingerprinting and mugshot.

    And then Trump goes straight from the jail to a giant Trump rally that runs—and here I’m just spitballing—from 8-11 p.m. EDT.

    Fox will carry the debate and all of the other networks will carry his rally and you tell me which would get the bigger ratings numbers?

    More from Johnathan V. Last here!

  3. The GOP debate will be fun! Watching however many candidates stand there trying to show off and make their pitch that they’re the one Republican voters should back-but w/o pissing off the Trumpers. The drama will be how to talk policies when the absent front runner has no policies he’s promoting-except for himself.

  4. If he’s more concerned about his campaign than his legal situation, that screams that he’s guilty. If he was innocent, he’d be preparing to prove it.

  5. One advantage Pence has is that he can grab all the coverage of the debate by saying something newsworthy about Trump’s involvement in Jan 6th, being that Pence was central to the whole thing. He could really come at Trump hard on that.

    He won’t because he’s a wuss, but he could.

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