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Trump skips Republican debate and instead has fireside chat with Tucker Carlson

Trump skipped the debate on Fox News and instead attacked his rivals and Joe Biden in an interview posted on social media.

DONALD TRUMP ATTACKED his rivals for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination and Democrat Joe Biden in an interview aired as counter-programming to his party’s first primary debate.

Trump skipped the debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and opted instead to do an interview with Tucker Carlson, a conservative former Fox News talk show host.

During the rambling pre-recorded interview, which was posted on Twitter, recently renamed X, at the same time as the debate, Trump said it did not make sense for him to take part while he was leading his rivals by “50 to 60 points” in the polls.

“Do I sit there for an hour or two hours, whatever it’s going to be, and get harassed by people that shouldn’t even be running for president?” he said.

Trump dismissed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis as a “lost cause,” said he was “very disappointed” by his former vice president Mike Pence and called former New Jersey governor Chris Christie a “lunatic.”

Trump called Biden the “worst president in the history of our country” and suggested that the 80-year-old may not be the Democratic candidate come election day in November 2024.

“I don’t think he’s going to make it to the gate but you never know,” Trump said. “I think he’s worse mentally than he is physically and physically he’s not exactly a triathlete.

“In many ways I’d love to run against him because his record’s so bad.”

Trump also dismissed his four criminal indictments, calling them “trivia, nonsense, bullshit.”

Trump has been indicted in New York on charges of paying hush money to an adult film actress, in Florida for mishandling top secret government documents, and in Washington on charges of conspiring to upend his 2020 election loss.

77-year-old Trump is set to surrender to the authorities in Atlanta today to face racketeering charges for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election in the southern state.

Asked by Carlson what his priority would be if he wins re-election, Trump said “the first thing I would do is I would seal up the border good and tight except for people that want to come in legally”.

Trump was also asked about the possibility of civil war or open conflict in the United States.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I can say this. There’s a level of passion that I’ve never seen. There’s a level of hatred that I’ve never seen, and that’s probably a bad combination.”

© AFP 2023

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