Trump doubles down on GOP debates: What’s the purpose of doing it?

Former President Trump on Wednesday doubled down on his earlier comments that he could skip Republican White House primary debates, suggesting that he’s far ahead enough in recent polling that he doesn’t need to engage.

“When you’re way up, you don’t do debates. If you’re even or down you do debates, but when you’re way up, what’s the purpose of doing the debate?” Trump said on the “Cats & Cosby Show” with hosts John Catsimatidis and Rita Cosby.

Trump said he’s “leading by 40 points” and stressed that “people don’t debate when they have these massive leads.” He’s threatened to skip debates several times throughout his 2016 and 2020 bids for the Oval Office.

The GOP has announced plans for two primary debates so far — the first set for later this year in Milwaukee and the second to be held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California at an unset date.

“They say, ‘Why would we debate?’ I would have a hostile group of anchors — a hostile network — asking questions. Why would I do that?” Trump said.

Trump also repeated earlier concerns about the second planned GOP debate — noting that the chairman of the Reagan library’s board of trustees is Fred Ryan, publisher of The Washington Post, a paper Trump called “the enemy of the people.”

The former president had taken to his Truth Social account on Tuesday to question why a candidate would “subject yourself to being libeled and abused” when “you’re leading by seemingly insurmountable numbers.”

Recent polling has shown Trump at the front of a hypothetical GOP presidential primary. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who hasn’t announced an official bid, has cropped up as a top possible contender, though some recent results show Trump with a double-digit lead.

At the same time, other polling results indicate that many Americans don’t want Trump, who kicked off his 2024 campaign last year, to run to retake the White House.

But Trump on the “Cats & Cosby Show” said “DeSanctus is coming way down,” using one of his choice nicknames for the Florida governor.

“I don’t know whether or not he’s gonna run because he’s lost all of his support. He’s campaigned very poorly, and he’s lost so much support that I don’t know if he’s gonna run,” Trump said of DeSantis, though he added “if he does, that’s fine.”

DeSantis earlier this week dodged a question about 2024 presidential election polling, saying, “I’m not a candidate, so we’ll see if and when that changes.” He indicated earlier this year that he would make a decision on a possible presidential run after Florida’s legislative session ends in May.

Trump earlier this month tried to discourage DeSantis from running.

“I believe that if he decides to run for President, which will only hurt and somewhat divide the Republican Party, he will lose the cherished and massive MAGA vote, and never be able to successfully run for office again,” he said on Truth Social.

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