Donald Trump announced yesterday that he will not participate in tomorrow's Fox News debate and he has not yet changed his mind about the event, the last before the Iowa Caucuses.
Instead of appearing on stage with his presidential competitors, Trump said he will host a "special event to benefit veterans organizations" at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.
Trump's event is set for 9 p.m. EST -- the same time as the debate.
“He will...raise money for the Veterans and Wounded Warriors, who have been treated so horribly by our all talk, no action politicians,” the Trump campaign said in a statement released Tuesday night.
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“When Donald Trump goes to Des Moines and we start raising money for veterans and wounded warriors and we have multiples of millions of dollars raised for these people and the American people tune in because they want to support that and Fox goes back and say they should have had 24 million watching their debate and instead they got 1 million, it's a disservice to the American people,” Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said today on “Good Morning America.”
Lewandowski also claimed this morning on MSNBC that other campaigns have “asked us proactively” to participate in the event and that “it’s very possible” that other candidates could skip the debate as well.
It’s a risk for Trump to be a no-show, given that the Iowa caucuses are five days away and he’s neck-and-neck with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in Iowa, according to recent polls.
Trump said he's boycotting the debate because he believes Fox News host and debate moderator Megyn Kelly is “unfair” and “biased” because of questions she posed to Trump last August.
On her show last night, Kelly stood firm: “Mr. Trump has repeatedly brought up that exchange as evidence of alleged bias on my part. I maintain it was a tough but fair question and we agreed to disagree.”
Fox News does not plan on having an empty podium at tomorrow's debate. If Trump follows through on his threat, Trump's podium will be removed and Cruz will take center stage.