Donald Trump has blindsided his fellow Republicans after hinting he might skip the 2024 primary debates.
The former president cited his past experience in dealing with unfair debate moderators, saying nobody asked his permission to participate.
“I see that everybody is talking about the Republican Debates, but nobody got my approval, or the approval of the Trump Campaign, before announcing them,” Trump wrote on Truth Social.
The 2024 Republican frontrunner also said he sees no reason to debate given his "insurmountable" lead in the polls and the odds of being "libeled and abused."
“When you’re leading by seemingly insurmountable numbers, and you have hostile Networks with angry, TRUMP & MAGA hating anchors asking the ‘questions,’ why subject yourself to being libeled and abused?”
The first debate is scheduled for August in Milwaukee and will be hosted by Fox News. Trump also suggested that a second GOP primary debate at the Reagan Presidential Library in California could be manipulated.
"Also, the Second Debate is being held at the Reagan Library, the Chairman of which is, amazingly, Fred Ryan, Publisher of The Washington Post. NO!" Trump added.
RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel has said the candidates must pledge to back the eventual nominee, which Trump famously declined to do in 2016.
Trump also famously boycotted a Fox-moderated debate before the Iowa caucuses that year. At the time, Trump took issue with a snide press release from Fox mocking him and perceived hostility from then-anchor Megyn Kelly.
This time around, Trump has accused Fox News of promoting top Republican rival Ron DeSantis, who Trump says is waging a "shadow campaign."
Trump also raised concerns about debate fairness in 2020, when he accused former Fox News anchor Chris Wallace of bias. The Commission on Presidential Debates canceled the second debate after Trump insisted on an in-person event, rather than the proposed "virtual" format.
But Republican New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, a potential primary candidate in 2024, said Trump is "wimping out" by threatening to skip debates.
"He's kind of wimping out. He says he's a fighter, but now he doesn't want to actually be, you know, have discussions and debate," he said.
Democrats, meanwhile, are in regime formation. The party is rallying behind Joe Biden, who declared his re-election campaign on Tuesday, and they are not allowing any debates.