After learning about his indictment over his battle to fight against what he termed election fraud, former President Donald Trump sat down with Fox News executives for dinner, according to a new report.
Trump dined with Fox News President Jay Wallace and Fox CEO Suzanne Scott in a private room at Trump’s Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club, The New York Times reported, citing as its source two of the three people familiar with the event.
The report noted the dinner had been scheduled before the indictment was announced.
Fox’s executives, who asked for the meeting, urged Trump to appear in the Aug. 23 inaugural Republican presidential debate, which Fox is hosting.
The pitch to Trump was that he “excels on the center stage and that it presents an opportunity for him to show off his debate skills,” the Times reported.
Several people who have tried pushing Trump to debate in recent weeks have argued that if he does not show up, he could be giving an opening to other candidates to perform well.
The Times said its sources reported that Trump told the Fox executives he had not yet made a decision and would keep an open mind on the subject, even though he has recently said that in addition to skipping the Milwaukee event on Aug. 23, he might skip the September event at the Reagan Presidential Library in California.
The Times report described the dinner as cordial. Neither the Trump campaign nor Fox News would discuss the dinner.
Bridge Gate Chris Christie has disqualified himself from the GOP debate by refusing to say he’d vote for the Republican nominee for president if it is Donald Trump. Let’s see if the RNC stands by its requirements. I told you this fraud intends to help elect Joe Biden.
— Mark R. Levin (@marklevinshow) July 29, 2023
In a recent interview with Breitbart, Trump offered his reasons not to appear.
“I haven’t totally made a decision. I like the debates. I might be here because of the debates. I might have won against Hillary with the debates and I might have gotten the nomination because of the debates,” Trump said.
“But when you’re leading by 50 and 60 points against these people, and you have people at zero and one and two — and then they’re going to be asking me hostile questions, and they probably won’t have much of an audience if I’m not in the debates according to what I read. If I’m not in the debates, then they’re not going to have a very big audience. It seems almost like it would be foolish to do them,” Trump said.
In a recent Truth Social post, Trump offered another reason to stay above the fray.
“Let them debate so I can see who I MIGHT consider for Vice President!” he wrote.
Absolutely hilarious that Mike Pence has only 75% of the total number of donors needed to qualify for the first GOP presidential debate and, according to the NYT, “is the best-known Republican at risk of missing the first debate.” https://t.co/ObSvI1ZuA4
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) August 2, 2023
To date, Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgam have qualified, according to the Associated Press.
Former Vice President Mike Pence and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson are among those who have not yet qualified.