Donald Trump has announced his intention to boycott a debate with other presidential contenders in protest at the coverage he has received on Fox News, the television network screening the event. Instead, he intends to attend a charity event for former members of the armed forces.
Trump took the decision in response to what he called “a wise-guy press release” in which Fox satirically claimed that he intended to appoint random Twitter followers to fill all of his Cabinet posts. He responded by refusing to attend the debate and stating that it was a political attack devised by Roger Ailes, who runs the channel. He said he refused to let the channel “toy with me like they toy with everybody else”.
Like many populist politicians on the right, such as Sarah Palin, the Apprentice star has frequently taken shots at what the former governor used to call “the lame stream media”, but what makes Trump different is his enthusiasm for attacking both Fox News and other conservative commentators, such as Charles Krauthammer. His last appearance at a Fox event saw him react with hostility to the questioning of the host, Megyn Kelley, who he later claimed was unreasonable and had “blood coming out of her whatever”.
Interestingly, his most recent press conference also dealt with the issue of abortion, with Trump declaring himself to be pro-life. Many on the evangelical wing of the party are deeply uncertain about Trump’s credentials on moral issues, despite his claims that he always has a Bible with him. This may explain Senator Ted Cruz’s decision to call on Trump to agree to a “mano a mano” debate, without any of the other candidates. The challenge has yet to be accepted and Trump continues to lead the pack, as unpredictable, flamboyant and unapologetic as ever. What he will do next is anyone’s guess, but you can bet it won’t be dull.