Posted originally on the CTH on May 3, 2023 | Sundance
It’s still a little too early to predict the attack angle that Fox News Corp is constructing against Donald Trump for their announced control over the August 2023 presidential debate; however, the one thing we are certain of is the attack itself.
You might not remember how CTH accurately predicted the attack by Megyn Kelly and the specific angle of using sexism during the August 2015 debate. That accurate prediction was an assembly of datapoints including Kelly’s lead in television appearances; the fact that FOX’s vice-president of political content, Bill Sammon, was in charge of the debate format; the fact that Rupert Murdoch was promoting Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio; and the fact that Bill Sammon’s daughter, Brooke Sammon, was the communications director for the Rubio campaign. The prediction was accurate, and Megyn Kelly did exactly what Rupert Murdoch paid her to do.
By the time the second Fox News debate came around in Feb 2016, candidate Trump just ignored it and held a rally instead. This is the context for another round of Republican presidential debates, and the intent of Fox News and the RNC to support it, once again. Fox and the RNC have once again agreed to an August 2023 debate – President Trump leading by 30 to 40 points in the polls, has not. [SEE VIDEO] WATCH:
The second debate is scheduled for the Ronald Reagan Library, an ideological opposition group to the interests of MAGA. As noted by the New York Times, “The chairman of the library’s board of trustees, Frederick J. Ryan Jr., also serves as the publisher and chief executive officer of The Washington Post, a fact that Mr. Trump regularly brings up.”
The Ronald Reagan library venue is as establishment Republican as it gets. The America First agenda would find more support at the George W. Bush ranch in Texas. The board members of the Ron Reagan library hate Donald Trump and have never invited him there to speak. For President Trump, that venue is a non-starter.
We all know what both GOPe institutions holding and broadcasting Republican debates are going to attempt against President Trump. Which explains why President Trump has agreed to a CNN townhall event. Even with the pre-planted audience questions and attendees designed to undermine Donald Trump, at least facing the enemy on their turf he knows what to expect.
[New York Times] […] For Mr. Trump, denying his low-polling rivals access to a massive television audience is part of his calculations in potentially skipping the debates, according to the people who have discussed the matter with him. In 2015, Fox News drew an audience of 24 million for the first primary debate of the 2016 campaign. It was, at the time, the biggest viewership for a nonsports event in cable television history.
“In his mind there’s not enough candidates who are polling close enough to him,” said a person familiar with Mr. Trump’s thinking, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations with the former president. “And that if he does a debate this early with candidates who are polling in the single digits, there’s no upside for him.”
Another motivation for Mr. Trump is revenge: The former president has a history with the two institutions hosting the first two Republican candidate debates.
Mr. Trump has told advisers that the second debate is a nonstarter for him because it will be held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. The chairman of the library’s board of trustees, Frederick J. Ryan Jr., also serves as the publisher and chief executive officer of The Washington Post, a fact that Mr. Trump regularly brings up.
Mr. Trump is also sour that the Reagan library has invited numerous other leading Republicans to speak at its events over the past two years, including his presidential rival Mr. DeSantis, but has never extended an invitation to Mr. Trump, according to two people familiar with his thinking.
The library started a speakers series in 2021 called “Time for Choosing,” and invitees have included Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina; Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and United Nations ambassador; and, more recently, Mr. DeSantis. A spokesperson for the library said no former president has been included in the series.
One reason Mr. Trump may skip the first debate is its timing — he believes it’s too early, and has told aides he does not want to debate in August. Another reason is the host, Fox News. (read more)
Whether he does or whether he doesn’t, the big picture remains clear.
The Republican Party apparatus will attempt to use their leverage within the GOPe debates to weaken Donald Trump and enhance Ron DeSantis.