Donald Trump will “definitely” skip Thursday’s GOP debate due to a deepening fight with the Fox News Channel, according to his campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.
“It’s not under negotiation,” Lewandowski told reporters Tuesday evening.
Lewandowski ruled out Trump’s participation just a few minutes after Trump himself said he would “most likely” hold a competing event in Iowa during the debate.
“Let’s see how much money Fox is going to make on the debate without me, OK?” Trump said, asserting that the ratings will sink without him.
Now Fox News and Trump are at loggerheads. Political observers immediately wondered whether Trump was bluffing. Media analysts asked whether Fox would leave an empty podium at center stage during Thursday’s event, which is the last GOP debate before the all-important Iowa caucuses.
Fox had no immediate response to Trump’s warning about not attending. The fracas escalated quickly Tuesday, but was the culminations of months of tension between the GOP front-runner and the Fox News host Megyn Kelly.