Trump eyes 'counterprogramming' to overshadow Fox News debate

By 
 August 17, 2023

In a throwback to 2016, Donald Trump is making use of his talent to drive the media ahead of Fox News' upcoming primary debate - and leaving the country in suspense as to whether he will show up.

According to CNN, Trump is planning "counterprogramming" to make everyone forget about the debate in Milwaukee next week.

Troll move

Trump has a number of options for diminishing Fox and his challengers.

Some sources told CNN that Trump may sit down for an interview with former Fox host Tucker Carlson.

Alternatively, the drama surrounding Trump's criminal indictments has generated wall-to-wall news coverage.

The sensational media frenzy is expected to continue next week when Trump is arraigned in Georgia. Trump could time his surrender in Atlanta to coincide with the debate in Milwaukee Wednesday night.

“He should do it the day after the debate to suck up all the post-debate coverage,” a source close to Trump told NBC. “That way even if another candidate has some sort of ‘moment’ at the debate, it falls into a black hole, press-wise.”

Trump in control

One way or another, it's Trump's debate to skip.

Fox executives including President Jay Wallace and chief executive Suzanne Scott reportedly traveled to Trump's New Jersey golf club last month to beg him to participate, CNN said.

Trump has threatened to skip the debate, citing his formidable frontrunner status, bias at Fox, and a pledge - which he previously rejected in 2016 - requiring candidates to support the eventual nominee.

Suspense building

The debate will be do-or-die for Trump's top rival Ron DeSantis, whose campaign has been off to a rocky start after a highly anticipated launch.

The Florida governor's debate strategy was leaked on Thursday - including directives to defend Trump and attack rising star Vivek Ramaswamy, who has started to threaten DeSantis' position as the runner-up.

Trump has continued to build suspense by leaving open the possibility that he will attend, but he hinted Thursday that his attendance was unlikely.

"Why doesn't Fox and Friends show all of the Polls where I am beating Biden, by a lot," Trump wrote on Truth Social. "They just won't do it! Also, they purposely show the absolutely worst pictures of me, especially the big 'orange' one with my chin pulled way back."

"Just like 2016 all over again…And then they want me to debate!" he wrote.

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