Former President Donald Trump once again railed against his 2024 Republican opponents from the comfort of his social media account on Wednesday, shunning the debate stage where seven other candidates gathered to appeal to voters.
The former president blasted former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Truth Social soon after the Republican presidential primary debate finished. Both men used their airtime to criticise Trump, with Christie saying the party should drop him as its candidate, at one point speaking directly to Trump through the camera. DeSantis challenged Trump to appear on the debate stage, saying voters had a right to hear from anyone gunning for the White House.
The Trump campaign went a step further after the debate ended, calling on the Republican National Committee to stop holding the debates because the match-ups are “boring and inconsequential.”
“President Trump has a 40- or 50-point lead in the primary election and a 10-point lead over Joe Biden in the general election, and it’s clear that President Trump alone can defeat Biden,” campaign adviser Chris LaCivita said. (The referenced poll has been criticised, but the numbers against his fellow Republicans are in line with national polling data.)
“The RNC should immediately put an end to any further primary debates so we can train our fire on Crooked Joe Biden and quit wasting time and money that could be going to evicting Biden from the White House.”
Trump scheduled a prime-time speech at a Detroit auto parts factory as a distraction, much as he did with a Tucker Carlson interview released last month during the first Republican debate, which he also skipped.
The GOP stage at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, shrunk to seven on Wednesday.
Trump, who has said he doesn’t need to debate because he is so far ahead in polls, remained the far-and-away front-runner, with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis a distant second. Wednesday’s performance could prove influential among donors, who have mostly waited to throw financial support behind any candidates.
Despite his polling strength, the former president is set to have an unusually busy campaign season. He’s the subject of four separate criminal indictments and will likely spend much of next year in courtrooms.
A judge issued another defeat to Trump this week, ruling in New York’s civil case against him that the self-proclaimed tycoon committed fraud for years while building his real estate empire, regularly inflating the value of his assets. The decision stripped Trump from control of some of his properties in New York, a decision the former president called “un-American” and a “very sad day.”
Few of Trump’s rivals have condemned the former president’s alleged lawbreaking, although that dam began to break on Wednesday.