Trump announces he will run for president in 2024 at his Mar-a-Lago estate
Trump announces he will run for president in 2024 at his Mar-a-Lago estateREUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Former US President Donald Trump plans to skip the first Republican primary debate on Wednesday and instead sit for an online interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, The New York Times reported on Friday, citing multiple people briefed on the matter.

In the past 24 hours, Trump has told people close to him that he has made up his mind and will skip the debate in Milwaukee, two of the sources said.

For weeks, the former president has been quizzing aides, associates and rally crowds about what he should do. Until earlier this week, Trump had been giving people the impression he was considering a last-minute surprise appearance on Wednesday, according to The Times.

Still, people close to him had said for months that he was unlikely to take part in the first two Republican debates, both of which are sponsored by the Republican National Committee.

The chairwoman of the RNC, Ronna McDaniel, has privately urged Trump to attend the debate, even traveling to his private club in Bedminster, NJ, last month to make her pitch in person, according to The Times.

The report noted that Fox News remains in a public battle with Carlson, who is still on contract and being paid by Fox despite having his show taken off the air.

Fox sent Carlson a cease-and-desist letter after he aired a series of videos on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. The Trump campaign’s conversations with Carlson — and the possibility of counterprogramming — have previously been reported by multiple news organizations.

Spokesmen for the Trump campaign, the RNC and Fox News did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Carlson also did not respond to requests for comment.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)