By January 30, 2016 0 Comments Read More →

Donald Trump Plays the No-Show Trump Card

Donald Trump skipped Republican debate.

Donald Trump skipped Republican debate.

Donald Trump has followed through with his threat not to participate in the final Republican presidential debate prior to the February 1st Iowa primary.  The debate was sponsored by Fox News and took place in Des Moines, Iowa, on Thursday (1/28), at 9 p.m.  Many political observers had projected that it would be a serious miscalculation for Thump not to engage in the debate.  However, that has not turned out to be the case—Trump has not only survived the no show controversy, but in fact he has thrived in the midst of it.

Trump’s conflict with Fox News began when the front-running Republican candidate and Fox News moderator Megyn Kelly clashed during the first Republican debate, held on August 6, 2015, in Cleveland, Ohio.  Trump became incensed by the piercing questions Kelly directed to him concerning his characterization of women who oppose him.  Trump felt that Kelly was out-of-bounds and punitive in her questioning tactics.

During a political campaign rally on Tuesday (1/26), in Iowa, Trump said that he considered Megyn Kelly to be “a third-rate reporter”.  He said: “I think they [Fox News] could do a lot better than Megyn Kelly and so I’m going to be making a decision with Fox but I probably won’t bother doing the debate.” Comments by Kelly prior to the debate indicated that she thought Trump would participate.  For example, in an  Entertainment Tonight interview on Wednesday (1/27), Kelly said: “I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t come…because I feel like the people of Iowa are still persuadable”.

But, as we now know, Trump indeed did not “bother doing the debate”.

Fox News appears to have initially taken the former television reality star no-show threat rather lightly.  In a statement on Saturday (1/23) Fox said: “Megyn Kelly has no conflict of interest.  Donald Trump is just trying to build up the audience for Thursday’s debate, for which we thank him.”  And then in a statement on Monday (1/25) Fox said that Trump has to learn that “he doesn’t get to pick the journalists”, and went on to indicate that they would be “very surprised he’s willing to show that much fear about being questioned by Megyn Kelly.”

Trump claims that he was all set to do the debate prior to what he described as Fox News’ “wise-guy press release”.  He stated: “When they sent out the wise-guy press release done by some PR person…I said: ‘Bye, bye, OK’ “.  The billionaire added: “Let’s see how much money Fox makes without me in the debate.”

On Wednesday (1/27), CNN announced that the Donald Trump campaign had scheduled a “special event” to benefit veterans, coinciding with the Fox News’ Republican debate.  This competing event was hosted in Des Moines, by Drake University, at 8 p.m. Thursday, debate night.  It is reported that the rally raised several million dollars.  However, Paul Rieckhoff, founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said that his organization would decline funds raised in the event due to political implications.

Evidence indicates that Donald Trump benefited from his debate no show: his action dominated news coverage; his alternate affair raised considerable funds for veteran causes; he was seen by many as an image of strength; most news commentators rated his closest Republican rival Ted Cruz’s debate performance as being anemic (a loser); moreover, Trump’s poll numbers remain strong.

And so we might confidently conclude that in playing the no-show trump card Donald Trump emerged the big winner of the political stakes that were on the table in this latest controversy.    

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