President Donald Trump explained why he questioned the importance of attending the GOP primary debates, asking the crowd if it would be a smart political move to waste time debating hostile politicians on a hostile network when the country was at stake.
“Am I going to stand up there with [candidates who are] zero, one, two, three percent [in the polls] – and have them ask me hostile questions?” he said.
He continued, “If I agreed to do the debates I’d get hit by a hostile network and I’d also get hit by hostile politicians.”
Trump also pointed out that “at a certain point, you say, why are we doing these things?”
He noted that he hadn’t “made a commitment” to attending the primary debates ahead of the 2024 election, and playfully asked the crowd if they thought he should take the stage with a field of low-polling Republican candidates.
“Put on your political cap – we have to save our country, we have to win – should I get up there with 10-12 hostile people on a hostile network?” he asked.
The crowd seemed split on whether the president should attend the debates, and he joked that they just wanted to see him debate for “entertainment.”
Trump additionally took the opportunity to slam his political opponent, Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., commenting that the governor’s poor polling performance had “killed” his chances of running for president in 2028.
Trump added, “I heard he’s going to drop out.”