Republican presidential hopefuls are set to square off against one another on Wednesday evening in the party's second televised debate. However, former President Donald Trump has made clear that he won't be there.
According to The Hill, Trump will avoid the debate stage in California and instead speak to striking members of the United Auto Workers union.
Jason Cabel Roe is a Michigan-based Republican strategist, and he told The Hill that Trump's decision is part of a calculated plan.
"The next morning, when we turn on the 'Today Show,' or any of the networks and watch the morning programming, these are going to be the two stories. The only way to gauge a win between the two is who gets the first headline," Roe was quoted as saying.
Roe went on to predict that the former president and GOP frontrunner is "going to get some attention and draw some eyeballs away from the debate itself."
"And he’s going to inject himself into the story on the debate without being there, and doing something that has political currency beyond the Republican primary electorate," the political strategist added.
Mark Weaver is also a political strategist, and he agreed that Trump's decision to focus on striking workers rather than his Republican opponents is a smart move.
"When you look up the term 'political savvy' in the political dictionary, you normally do not find Donald Trump listed in that definition, but his counter-programming decisions for the first and second debates are certainly politically savvy," Weaver stated.
Ernest McGowen is an associate professor of political science at the University of Richmond, and he offered a similar assessment, saying, "Trump can’t lose by not going to the debate."
"He can only lose by going to the debate because if he goes … then the whole debate becomes about picking at not only just policy but picking at things that he said in the media," McGowen insisted.
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden announced in a tweet late last week that he too will visit striking workers in Michigan
"Tuesday, I’ll go to Michigan to join the picket line and stand in solidarity with the men and women of UAW as they fight for a fair share of the value they helped create," he declared.
Tuesday, I’ll go to Michigan to join the picket line and stand in solidarity with the men and women of UAW as they fight for a fair share of the value they helped create.
It’s time for a win-win agreement that keeps American auto manufacturing thriving with well-paid UAW jobs.
— President Biden (@POTUS) September 22, 2023