Fox News is canceling Monday’s scheduled Republican presidential debate in Salt Lake City, Utah, after front-runner Donald Trump publicly backed out early this morning. After Trump announced he was going to be missing the debate Ohio Gov. John Kasich decided to skip the event as well leaving only Texas Sen. Ted Cruz willing to debate.
“Ted Cruz has expressed a willingness to debate Trump or Kasich – or both. But obviously, there needs to be more than one participant,” Fox executive vice president Michael Clemente said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the GOP frontrunner Trump has been clear that he sees no reason for anymore debates and announced this morning as a guest on “Fox and Friends,” that he had only heard about the event last night and had a prior commitment.
Trump will be giving a “major speech” at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference and thus would be unavailable to be part of the debate. He seems as though he has no more interest in debating and even mentioned that he thought the events were over.
“I thought the last debate on CNN was the last debate, that was going to be it. Nobody told me there were going to be more debates,” Trump said. “I think we’ve had enough debates.” The Salt Lake City debate was added to the primary schedule in February, and slated to take pace after a dozen high-profile debates that have featured slugfests among candidates and been ratings blockbusters. Meanwhile, after Trump pulled out of the debate Kasich thought it best to stay on the campaign trail rather than square off against Cruz. Taking an opportunity to get a dig in Kasich strategist John Weaver took to twitter.
Fox noted that the RNC’s offer to the cable channel to host the debate was contingent upon “enough candidates actively campaigning.” But Clemente acknowledged in the statement only one candidate would have been on stage.
“This morning, Donald Trump announced he would not be participating in the debate. Shortly afterward, John Kasich’s campaign announced that without Trump at the debate, Kasich would not participate.”
A representative with the Republican National Committee did not immediately return a request for comment from The Hill.