Donald Trump

Donald Trump Won't Participate in Thursday's GOP Debate on Fox News

Is the Republican presidential frontrunner afraid of Megyn Kelly?


Donald Trump is pulling out of the GOP debate hosted by Fox News this Thursday. 

Ever since the first Republican debate, the Republican frontrunner has been at war with Megyn Kelly. The Fox News host moderated the first debate back in August, and opened with questions asking Trump about derogatory comments he'd made about women. 

After the debate was over, Trump complained about the moderation and Kelly in particular, lobbing barely disguised misogynist insults at her, and then, of course, claiming he'd done no such thing. 

The fued has continued, at a low level, for the last few months, but it flared up again recently when Fox announced that Kelly would be moderating the next Fox News debate this Thursday. In response, Trump threatened to boycott the event. He even launched a Twitter poll this afternoon asking his followers whether he should go to the event. 

It looked a lot like typical Trump bluster. And Fox responded by insisting they'd lose Trump before ditching Kelly, and mocking Trump for being unwilling to stand up to their moderator of choice. 

"We learned from a secret back channel that the Ayatollah and Putin both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they meet with him if he becomes president – a nefarious source tells us that Trump has his own secret plan to replace the Cabinet with his Twitter followers to see if he should even go to those meetings," a spokesperson for the network said today, in a statement that looked like an attempt to out-Trump Trump. 

But now it looks like Trump wasn't bluffing. This evening, Trump's campaign manager told The Washington Post that Trump is "definitely not participating in the Fox News debate." 

I suppose it's still possible that he could change his mind, but that sounds pretty definitive. In addition, Trump's campaign staffer also said that the candidate would be participating in some sort of competing event, possibly with another network. 

Trump isn't just the GOP frontrunner. He's also been the main draw at the debates so far. What will a Trump-less debate look like? Will anyone tune in? We're about to find out.

Another question: Does this help Trump or hurt him?

On the one hand, he's going to get ridiculed for not being willing to stand up Megyn Kelly. That's the approach that Fox already took, and you'll see a lot more of it. It's possible, then, that this makes Trump look weak and unready. [Update: That didn't take long. Ted Cruz, Trump's closest primary rival, responds: "If [Trump] thinks Megyn Kelly is so scary, what exactly does he think he'd do with Vladimir Putin?"]

On the other hand, Trump's brand as a politician is that he doesn't play by the rules, doesn't accept or abide by the conventions that traditionally govern political actors. So it might end up working to his advantage, or at least not hurting him. It's the kind of media stunt that no other candidate could pull off but that has worked for Trump in the past. 

With the Iowa caucuses coming up next week, we'll have an indicator of how at least some voters think about Trump's latest move fairly soon. 


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  1. It looked a lot like typical Trump bluster. And Fox responded by mocking Trump for being unwilling to stand up to their moderator of choice.

    “We learned from a secret back channel that the Ayatollah and Putin both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they meet with him if he becomes president ? a nefarious source tells us that Trump has his own secret plan to replace the Cabinet with his Twitter followers to see if he should even go to those meetings,” a spokesperson for the network said today, in a statement that looked like an attempt to out-Trump Trump.

    Both are just attempting to win the love of the Republican base. And by “Republican base” I mean “the studio audience from Married With Children“.

    1. Wooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!

      1. Don’t forget the horny cat call “Ooooowwww! Owwwww!” So hot it hurts!

      1. Dammit Libertarian, I should at least get bonus points for the sound effect.

        1. Bonus points granted. It’s like sex: getting there first is nothing to brag about.

          1. uuuh yes there is.

            unless you prefer sloppy seconds

            1. Call me when you get to tainted thirds.

              1. Don’t bring taints into it.

        2. Bonus points? But you have way more groovy sound effects from the future! Not much of a level playing field.

    2. I LOVE IT!

      Trump is the master at playing people to his advantage. I bet he goes up in the poles by at least 3 points. Iowa will be a slam-dunk for Trump.

      The best part is he’s taking Fox News down a few notches. Before the election is over he’ll have MSNBC ahead of Fox in ratings.

      Meagan Kelly IS a BIMBO. Who’s going to hold that against him? I bet Roger Ailes is already on the phone begging The Donald to come back.

      Again, Trump wins.

  2. I’ve thought all along that it would be Trump himself who derails his campaign. Call me an optimist, but I think this is the beginning of the end.

        1. Gullible optimist? I know I know, no catchy pop culture reference.

  3. I don’t think this makes him look good with undecideds, but of course that’s all moot if he has enough Team Stupid support to win anyway in Iowa anyway.

  4. I trust they will have an empty podium on stage. Doubt they will hang a sign on it, however: “Absent. Couldn’t take the heat in the kitchen.”

    1. I think open mockery is the best way to go for both Fox and the other candidates. They should even give the empty podium thirty seconds. to respond.

      1. Can we get Trump Muppet instead?

        1. Middle aged Beaker?

      2. /pans to empty podium.

        “A riveting and insightful response.”

        1. Wouldn’t that be a hilarious headline the next day? “Poll: 47% Say Trump Won Debate”.

          1. You know Trump will live tweet it if not some more creative stunt.

      3. Have Clint Eastwood ask the empty podium questions.

      4. Can the podium wear a Merkin on its head?

      5. Excellent idea!

      6. An empty podium would make more sense than one with Trump behind it. But that’s OK because Trump supporters will insist it proves that “no response is better than Trump’s”.

    2. excellent suggestion . And let the empty podium respond to any Trump criticisms from other candidates .

      1. This is starting to have all the earmarks of an interesting (and fun) debate!

  5. This is awesome! They might actually be able to cover a few issues this time!

  6. Trump’s a petty asshole who won’t let things go? I’m just so surprised at this turn of events.

    1. John — Trump is a genius. Who’s running a better campaign than him?

      You are easily surprised.

  7. Trump’s event will kill the debate in ratings.

    1. I’m making book that he will be there.

      Fox and trump are just generating headlines with this.

      They will reach and agreement and he will show up and declare victory.

      1. OneOut — Wanna bet?

  8. “Does this help Trump or hurt him?”

    All anyone in the press is doing is talking about him. All anyone will do at the debate is bash him. He probably gains lots of press while reducing his actual risk profile leading into the first 2 primaries.

    overall i’d call it a smart play that is intended at ‘protecting the dominant position he has’. or at least that’s what he and his people intend it to be.

    1. Trump has people? Why can’t I have people?

      1. I’ll have my people call Trump’s people.

  9. They should still direct questions to Trump, then just have about 10 seconds of silence before asking for a response from one of the other candidates.

  10. See? It’s not all bad news!

    1. OH SHIT ITS ON.

      Next, the Jehovas Witnesses are going to kick off “Operation Payback” and start murdering the Bah?’? and Unitarians.

    2. “A 23-year-old Milwaukee resident charged with illegally possessing machine guns had planned a massacre at a Masonic temple in the city, federal officials said Tuesday.

      Samy Mohamed Hamzeh was arrested Monday after buying two automatic weapons and a silencer from undercover agents, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin said in a statement.

      The investigation thwarted an attack “that could have resulted in significant injury and/or loss of life,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert J. Shields said in the statement announcing the arrest.

      It was not immediately clear whether Hamzeh has retained legal representation.

      A criminal complaint released by prosecutors alleges that Hamzeh toured a Masonic center in Milwaukee earlier this month with two FBI informants and then detailed plans for an attack in a meeting with them later that night.

      Hamzeh allegedly said he was defending Islam and that he hoped to kill at least 30 people, according to the complaint.”

      but really, Masons? defending Islam against…. Masons? WTF. Most masonic temples last i checked were mostly like Black Fraternities. Motherfucking racist.

      1. The Hamas Charter is full of batshit insane conspiracy claims against the Freemasons (and Rotary Clubs!) (See articles 17, 22, and 28).

        And these are the people whom the Israelis are expected to negotiate and compromise with.

      2. Hamzeh toured a Masonic center in Milwaukee earlier this month with two FBI informants

        I’ll go out on a limb here and guess Hamzeh had no money, no weapons, no actual plan prior to his hooking up with the FBI informants. Minus the FBI’s help, Hamzeh probably had as much a realistic chance of carrying out any sort of attack as I have a realistic chance of being elected Pope.

        1. Yeah, they probably had to loan him the money to buy the weapons they sold him.

      3. Were they actually machine guns? Or just semi-automatic guns portrayed as “assault rifles” and “machine guns”?

    3. You guys just don’t get it, evil Zionists used to drive around in those tiny cars to kill Palestinian, so seeing the Masons driving around in those tiny cars triggered him.

  11. Does this mean Rand is back in?

    1. Rand was already back in.

    2. I doubt Fox even answers his calls.

  12. He should just sit on a live TV stage and watch the debates, then respond like a heckler. That would actually be mega-trolling and innovative

      1. Yes…but with better ratings

    1. Oh god, that would work. #PrayForMurica

  13. I’ve seen several newscasts mentioning the Trump Dump and they all are taking this as an opportunity to examine the serious question as to whether or not Trump has a fair point here. Screw that, Trump has never seriously addressed an issue without taking the opportunity to call anybody who questions or criticizes him names. The only way to fairly address this issue in the manner Trump himself would fairly address it is to call him a crybaby who runs away when he feels his manhood is being challenged by a little girl. Does Trump think this is how he’s going to deal with foreign leaders – cry like a baby and run away if they say mean things about him?

    Trump can brag all he wants about how much foreign leaders respect him for his business successes, how much money he has, how he just kills at making business deals – you know what? Those people don’t have business successes but they do have a lot of money because they too have made killings. Only their killings ain’t metaphorical. You’re a chump Mr. Trump – when we want money and power we just go kill people and take their shit. Who needs business skills when you’ve got goons? In fact, that weenie in the Oval Office you talk bad about? Yeah, every Tuesday he sits down with some guys and a list and he decides who he’s going to have killed this week. You ever kill anybody, Donald? Barack Hussein Obama might be ordering a hit on somebody right this very minute you little wart. You got the stones for that?

  14. Now, when Trump changes his mind “due to the outcries of his supporters”, will Fox hold him to it?

  15. Help, hurt…about 2 months ago Reason told us to trust bettors as to who will win the nomination. Trump leads by nearly 20 points today. Last week? 12 points. Doesn’t seem like anything is hurting him.

    1. But you’re not taking into account that Trump’s supporters get all their information from Fox News. Fox News telling them Trump is a loser just caused all their heads to explode. Hard to vote when your brain is splattered all over the ceiling. Well, not all over the ceiling, just one tiny spot, really. About the size of a peanut.

      1. But they…FOX and Trump… Already had this fight once, and Trump won, as clearly evidenced by his rise in the polls immediately after the first brouhaha, and rising ever since. The GOP base back then didn’t rally around FOX.

        1. Trump’s poll numbers dropped after the first, second, and third debates.

          Staying away from this debate was probably a smart move. Hard to project a Great Leader image when you collapse under questioning.

          1. Trumps poll numbers went up after the first debate.

      2. Uh, Fox News has been pushing Jeb. Hasn’t really done him any good.

        1. Yup, was going to say the same thing. Trumps’ base support definitely do not get their news from Fox News and aren’t even self-described conservatives. Cruz gets those people.

          Trump gets the white trash and xenophobes who likely don’t vote and don’t really have a party affiliation.

      3. They do? did you ask all his supporters that question?

  16. I would say “this will definitely hurt Trump”, but honestly I’m mystified as to why anyone ever supported the silly sod in the first place. The power of unfocused voter rage is as impressive as it is useless.

  17. He probably figures that he can just sit on his lead, and have his own simultaneous event where he criticizes what they say and no one can criticize what he has says in turn.

  18. Trump probably received some inside info that she was going to be on her heavy flow day, and we do not want to be around them then, am I right fellas?

  19. Fox should have an empty podium with a giant toupee on top.

    Maybe on top of a video screen showing Trump’s simulcast event. They could wave. Then cover it with the toupee.

  20. I suspect this is yet another blustery stunt to hog all the attention, and that he fully intends to be in the debate. Hopefully not, though, or maybe he’s miscalculated and when he magnanimously agrees to be in Fox’ll tell him to fuck off.

    If he stays out, the metacommunication that he’s a big crybaby who quit because he got his feelings hurt by a girl will be inescapable to a lot of people.

    We can hope.

    1. Reagan skipped the final debate for similar reasons and went on to win the election. Good luck with your theory.

  21. The optics will be interesting, because he is leading. Maybe he will look weak. But…do the other candidates rant about him most of the night, further playing into his created image as outside the establishment? Or do they have to just tear each other apart because Trump isn’t available. And that only helps Trump. I don’t think it’s clear that this hurts Trump.

    1. The teams will be thinking really hard about whether and how to talk about him if he pusses out. They’ll probably talk to each other and with Fox about it.

      For a moment I was kind of savoring the idea of them talking about actual policy and stuff but since they are mostly arguing about who hates ISIS the most and whatnot, it’ll be the same blatherfest except without Nero.

      1. I think FOX must have thought it would be a cold day in hell when a GOP candidate told them them that he/she doesn’t need FOX. They may have just found one. We will see who is stronger.

  22. It’s a great marketing ploy. A lot of people hate Fox. It’s a good move. He is probably working a deal for Fox to join him in a suit against the National Review.

  23. W/O Trump the ratings will tanksand the advertisers will want a discount. Wonder how much Kelly is gonna cost Fox?

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  25. What a petulant, thin-skinned little twerp. Kelly didn’t ask him one cheap or out of bounds question.

  26. Seems to be an insight into his character. Maybe walking out of a one-on-one with Putin might work, maybe not, but having seen this stunt, I’ll expect him to try it if he gets the job. However, will he walk out of the whole job once he realizes that Congress and SCOTUS do have a bit of say in how things are done? Dunno.

  27. If the Trumpster can handle little Megan Kelly how will he be able to handle killers like Putin .

    Trump is scared of girls

    1. Right. That’s why he has a whole beauty contest.

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  30. Trump has a genius for knowing who the public wants to say F U to and doing it for them. ‘Fox, you’re fired’. They’re going to lose so many viewers and so much ad revenue from this it’s hilarious. Megyn and Fox News execs probably need tampons in their asses about now to stop the flow. None of this is new. They pulled the same crap on Ron Paul in the previous election cycle. And you didn’t see Reason asking if Rand was afraid for skipping a debate either, did you?

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  32. This is typical trump behavior and he should not be rewarded for it. The presidential campaign is just that, a job interview. The undecideds in Iowa deserve one last chance to hear from the candidates debating before Mondays caucus. As President there are many people that may be challenging to you or offensive. You don’t refuse to deal with the situation and run away. Trump has disqualified himself for selection. It is not about him, it is about the American people. Mr. Trump, you didn’t show up for the job interview “You’re fired!”

  33. I am just a regular US citizen that decided to look up why trump was not participating. This website is clearly anti trump and bias for people against Trump. “Secret back channel” lmfao really? This website I can already tell is terrible, people reading this who aren’t familiar with this website stay away it’s just bias views only taking one side without actually reporting fairly why. He has every right to not want to participate in that debate especially when Megan Kelly went after him on the last one, and only him. I only made an account to share this so I will be deactivating immediately!

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