Trump knocks GOP debate on ratings, candidates

Former President Trump lashed out against Fox News on Friday, criticizing the network’s first GOP primary debate on Wednesday night, which he chose to skip.

“The Debate on FoxNews had a hard time with the proverbial RATINGS. It was one of the lowest rated EVER, if not THE LOWEST. It showed that many of those participating are “second tier” and merely ‘pretenders to the throne’,” he said on Truth Social.

The first debate pitted eight of the nine top candidates against each other — Trump absent — and saw lower ratings than previous GOP debates. About 13 million people watched the show, compared to about 20 million who tuned in for the first Republican presidential debate in 2015, at the beginning of Trump’s first White House bid.

While a dramatic fall from those 2015 ratings, this week’s debate has generally been considered a success. As millions of Americans cut cords, Fox News was able to catch the most eyes of any broadcast or cable news show on Wednesday evening. The debate was television’s best performing non-sports program of the year, the network claimed.

“Some of the answers were sooo bad, with delivery even worse. The numbers were less than half what I had in 2016, not a good way to start the fight against Crooked Joe Biden, and his Lunatic Thugs. We will not let this happen. MAGA!” Trump continued.

The former president skipped the debate to sit down with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson for his show on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter. He said that there was no point in attending the debates because he holds such a large lead in the primary race. 

He has over half of Republican voters’ support in primary polls, about 52 percent according to national polling averages.

The second 2024 GOP primary debate will be held Sept. 27 and air on Fox Business. Trump has indicated he does not plan to attend any GOP primary debates. 

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