Jul 19, 2023 - Politics & Policy

RNC chair: It would be "a mistake" for Trump to skip debate

RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel speaks at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute's 'A Time for Choosing Speaker Series' at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on April 20, 2023 in Simi Valley, California

RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel speaks at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on April 20 in Simi Valley, Calif. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel said Wednesday that it would be "a mistake" for former President Trump to skip next month's primary debate.

Why it matters: The RNC has not previously commented publicly on the prospect of Trump, the frontrunner in the Republican primary, not attending the first Republican debate.

Driving the news: "I think it’s a mistake to not to do the debates, but that’s going to be up to him and his campaign,” McDaniel told Fox News on Wednesday, adding that she has talked to him about joining the debate.

  • McDaniel added that missing the debate "is just more of an opportunity for Joe Biden to continue to get his message out."
  • "You want to win the nomination, you got to get in front of those primary voters. But for me, it’s another part of it … this is an audience of 20 million people, plus," she said.
  • "Why wouldn't we get in front of them before we go against Joe Biden?"

The big picture: Trump has not committed to participating in next month's debate and he said earlier this month, “when you have a big lead, you don’t do it."

  • It's not yet clear who all will participate in the RNC's first debate on Aug. 23, which also requires that candidates receive contributions from at least 40,000 individual donors.

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