Op-ed by Elad Hakim | Photo: Alamy
The first GOP debate for the primary presidential race will take place sometime in August in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The second debate will take place at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.
On Tuesday, Trump mentioned the upcoming debates on Truth Social, where he wrote:
“I see that everybody is talking about the Republican Debates, but nobody got my approval, or the approval of the Trump Campaign, before announcing them. When you’re leading by seemingly insurmountable numbers, and you have hostile Networks with angry, TRUMP & MAGA hating anchors asking the “questions,” why subject yourself to being libeled and abused? Also, the Second Debate is being held at the Reagan Library, the Chairman of which is, amazingly, Fred Ryan, Publisher of The Washington Post. NO!”
Trump knows all about media bias and what can happen when moderators ask questions that are clearly one-sided. Americans saw this in previous debates, where the moderators were clearly not “neutral,” as discussed here. The purpose of the debates is to educate the American public. Toward that end, the moderators should facilitate the discussion and ask tough questions, not use the time to attack Trump and his followers or to ask partisan or biased questions that lack seriousness.
Trump has every reason to question the objectivity of Fox News and the networks’ moderators for the first debate. As reported by the Intelligencer, in a deposition of Rupert Murdoch from the Dominion Voting Systems defamation suit, Murdoch said that after the Capitol riot, the network was “very busy pivoting” away from Trump in the hope of making him “a non-person.”
While Trump was recently interviewed by both Tucker Carlson and Mark Levin, the Associated Press reports that his return “reverses what some had been calling a “soft ban” by Fox News, which had no on-air interviews with him between Sept. 22, 2022, and Hannity on March 27.”
Additionally, as previously reported by TMJ4, citing a report by the New York Times, “The RNC debates committee decided on Thursday that all presidential candidates must sign a loyalty pledge promising to support the eventual nominee – or not participate in the debates.”
Recently, as reported by the Washington Examiner, “Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel put 2024 GOP aspirants on notice Monday, warning them to pledge support for the nominee.” According to McDaniel, “If I said I wouldn’t support the nominee of our party, I’d be kicked out. So why would we host a debate stage without every candidate saying, I’m going to support whoever the voters choose?”
McDaniel’s comments assume that the will of the voters will be the only determining factor, that the voting will be fair, and that election integrity will be maintained. In a utopian world, that would be presumed. However, as Trump has seen on more than one occasion, members of his own party have engaged in concerted efforts to sabotage him and the America First movement. He has also seen and experienced firsthand how the system can be manipulated against him.
Why, then, would he blindly pledge to support anyone when he can’t even trust many in his own party or the system itself?
While Trump is leading all candidates and prospective candidates, he should not agree to participate in debates where the objectivity of the moderators is in question. Moreover, he should not agree to sign a loyalty pledge or commit to support the eventual Republican nominee as a condition to participate in the debates.
Trump has been the victim of consistent attacks since the day he announced his candidacy years ago. At that time, he did not know the players or the system as he does now. He has learned a lot since then. He also has every right to be skeptical of the system and the motivation of some within his own party.
As a result, he should not blindly agree to these conditions without various assurances in place.
Mr. Hakim is an attorney and columnist. His articles have been published in The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, American Thinker, and other online publications. He is also a regular guest on OANN’s Tipping Point, and has appeared on Newsmax, The Jenna Ellis Show, Steadfast and Loyal Podcast with Allen West, The Dave Weinbaum Show, and Real America’s Voice. The views expressed herein are the author’s own and do not constitute legal advice.