Donald Trump has reportedly made plans to do an online interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, on a platform still to be determined, in a middle-finger move to upstage the first Republican candidate debate.
While he could still, as always, change his mind, Trump has reportedly told people around him that he's decided to skip the first debate, per the New York Times, and made plans to give an interview to old pal Tucker Carlson instead. And since Carlson's only platform lately has been Twitter/X, can we expect that the interview will be hosted there? Possibly.
Carlson likely does not have any formal agreement with X, and he's still technically under contract to Fox News after seeing his prime-time program canceled in May. But after announcing he would be doing some version of his show on Twitter/X, and then doing a couple of low-budget, not-widely-watched broadcasts on the platform, Fox sent him a cease-and-desist letter, reminding him of his contract.
But is X even a reliable place to do a live broadcast? Trump rival Ron DeSantis already tried doing an audio interview live on the former Twitter in May, effectively announcing his campaign launch in very glitchy fashion — Elon Musk made excuses for this saying the platform had crashed because there were so many people trying to tune in, saying they were "definitely breaking new ground" with the broadcast.
If not on X, then where? Newsmax? They probably don't want to be sued by Fox News...
Trump put a post on Truth Social on Thursday that made his debate appearance still sound like more of an open question. "Reagan didn’t do it, and neither did others. People know my Record, one of the BEST EVER, so why would I Debate?"
And the former president has reportedly been asking aloud at rallies whether he ought to join in the debate.
There's also the issue of who's hosting the first GOP debate: Fox News. The formerly all-in-for-Trump TV network has cooled toward the former president in recent months, and this has reportedly had Trump fuming behind closed doors, expressing his displeasure with CEO Rupert Murdoch.
The debate is scheduled for Wednesday, and if Trump does indeed try to upstage it, it will be a major fuck you to the Republican National Committee in addition to Fox News. RNC chair Ronna McDaniel was reportedly pleading with Trump to take part, and even flew out to his New Jersey golf club recently to do her begging in person.
It seems highly likely that Trump won't want to answer any hardball questions about the four indictments he's facing, and that could be a motivating factor here as well. He just wants a platform where he can talk about the neverending witch hunt and what a victim he is of persecution by Democrats.
Questions like "how do you think you would be able to fulfill your duties as president while having to appear in court in Georgia?" are probably not things he wants to answer right now.
Top image: (Left) Tucker Carlson on Twitter. (Right) Former President Donald Trump and Attorney Alina Habba at the first tee during day three of the LIV Golf Invitational - Bedminster at Trump National Golf Club on August 13, 2023 in Bedminster, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)