Donald Trump plans to skip the first of two Republican presidential debates because it will be moderated by Fox News’ Bret Baier. The New York Times reported Tuesday.
The idea that the former president would shy away from the television coverage of the conservative news agency he follows for hours every day was once unthinkable. But perceived cracks in his favorite channel’s fidelity have apparently changed his mindset.
Baier is scheduled to moderate the first debate in Milwaukee in August.
In a Times report, backed by five unnamed sources who “discussed the matter” with Trump, he has reportedly raised his objection as one of the reasons for calling off the first televised encounter.
“Why would Bret Baier question me, said Mr. Trump to an employee,” the newspaper wrote.
Trump was “angry” that Baier dismissed many of Trump’s voter fraud allegations in its coverage of the 2020 election, according to the Times.
Baier was on the air when Fox News correctly reported Joe Biden’s win in Arizona, a networking trait inherited from Trump. Baier later refuted point for point Trump’s unsubstantiated Arizona claims after Trump attacked him.
Trump is also wary because former Fox News host Megyn Kelly asked him about demeaning comments he made toward women during a 2016 Republican debate, Times staffers said.
Trump has previously criticized the Republican National Committee’s announcement of the debates, saying he led by “seemingly insurmountable numbers” and must respond to “hostile networks with angry, TRUMP…hating anchors asking the ‘questions’.”
Trump has one big electoral advantage about Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has not announced his candidacy. Official challengers are former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and former biotech executive Vivek Ramaswamy.