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Donald Trump's Debate Decision: Does It Even Matter?

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Now that Donald Trump will be a no-show for the Wednesday debate in Milwaukee, the knives are out.  

"He's a coward," GOP Presidential Candidate Chris Christie told reporters this week. "There's no other conclusion to come to. He's both afraid of me and defending his record." 

In Trump world, however, it's the opposite. He says his record speaks for itself, as do the numbers. Not only is the former president leading the race, but he also has better numbers than in 2020 and that's after being indicted four times. A new CBS poll shows Trump at 62 percent. Ron DeSantis is closest at 16 percent, more than 40 points behind. Trump's view remains consistent: why bother?

"I like to debate, I don't mind it at all," Trump told Bret Baier of Fox News back in March. "But when you're 40 points up… why would I let them (his Republican rivals) take shots at me."  

Angie Wong, a conservative political columnist, sees this as the correct strategy. "I think that's exactly the right calculation to make for Donald Trump," Wong tells CBN News. "I think he does not want to spend two hours on stage talking about the Trump trials, which will be brought up or defending himself against Chris Christie, Ron DeSantis and all the rest." 
This is where former Fox News Host Tucker Carlson comes into the picture. He and Trump plan to release their one-on-one interview up against Wednesday's debate. 

Another reason behind Trump's absence is that Fox News is hosting it. The former president has complained consistently about the network's past coverage, saying on social media, "They purposely show the absolutely worst pictures of me, especially the big 'orange' one with my chin pulled way back."

A debate without Trump means ratings are expected to be down, considering his penchant for memorable moments. 

Trump would not be the first frontrunner to skip a debate. Ronald Reagan did it back in Iowa in 1980 mainly because he was leading by a lot. It turned out to be a bad move because he lost Iowa to George H.W. Bush. Of course, we know that eventually, everything worked out for Reagan as he went on to the GOP nomination and presidency. Donald Trump is hoping it will ultimately end the same for him this time around.  

Unlike Trump, Reagan wasn't facing any indictments. The day after the debate, Trump will appear at Atlanta's Fulton County Jail to be processed and released on a $200,000 bond.

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