Donald Trump and Megyn Kelly were set for another campaign showdown.
But then all hell broke loose.
And it’s all due to Donald Trump blindsiding Megyn Kelly with his response to a shocking picture.
The political world was abuzz after the Daily Mail reported that NewsNation – which is televising the fourth GOP presidential primary debate – screen-tested a stage with five podiums which meant they expected Donald Trump to attend a debate for the first time.
“NewsNation Organizers are setting up five lecterns in preparation for next week’s high-stakes Republican presidential debate – fueling speculation that Donald Trump might finally face his rivals in person onstage,” the Daily Mail exclusively reported.
“Amid the intensifying clash among Republicans hoping to take on President Biden, organizers are building a set for the live televised smackdown, which comes just weeks before the Iowa Caucuses,” the Daily Mail also reported.
“An image obtained by DailyMail.com shows five white lecterns evenly arrayed onstage at the Frank Moody Music Building on the University of Alabama campus in Tuscaloosa where the candidates will debate. That would include one for the former president, who has skipped the first three televised contests, while mocking participants and calling the prior debates ‘not watchable,’” the Daily Mail report read.
Adding intrigue to the report is the fact that NewsNation is televising this debate in conjunction with “The Megyn Kelly Show” which meant Kelly will be on stage as one of the co-moderators.
NewsNation is trying to establish itself as a nonpartisan news outlet and teaming with Kelly as a moderator was meant to show the Republican National Committee – which stages the debates – that it intended to give GOP candidates a fair shake and use moderators who ask questions conservatives care about.
The report about Trump possibly attending set off a wave of speculation about what a Trump-Kelly debate stage rematch would look like after their historic confrontation at the first GOP debate in 2016.
Trump believed that Kelly acted on orders from Fox News management by grilling him about past harsh comments about women as a means of taking him down with a “gotcha” question.
But Trump won the crowd over by quipping that he was only talking about infamous liberal actress Rosie O’Donnell – with whom Trump engaged in WrestleMania-style trash talk several years prior.
However, this was nothing more than a false alarm as Trump’s camp told Mediaite that Trump won’t be attending this debate.
Mediaite exclusively reported “A representative of the Trump campaign told Mediaite that he would not be making his debut at the next forum, which will be hosted by NewsNation and The CW.”
Trump skipped the first three debates because of his massive lead in the polls.
And since the last debate in November, Trump’s lead has only grown both nationally and in the key early states.
Showing up at this debate would just put Trump’s low-polling rivals on equal footing with the 45th president.
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