Former President Donald Trump said that he has made his decision on whether or not to attend the first Republican presidential debate, but he said he won’t announce it until next week.
In his first interview since being indicted in a third case, Trump announced to Newsmax’s Eric Bolling that he had already made his anticipated decision as to whether or not he would attend the first primary debate and that he would make it next week. The former president and Bolling talked over the upsides and downsides of attending or not, with Trump seemingly giving thought to both options.
However, a key area of contention was the requirement for the debate that candidates sign a loyalty pledge, swearing to support whoever the eventual GOP nominee will be, something the former president ruled out.
“I wouldn’t sign the pledge. Why would I sign a pledge of people on there that I wouldn’t have?” Trump said. “I wouldn’t have certain people as somebody that I’d endorse.”
He said there were “three or four people” on the debate stage that he wouldn’t endorse, but he declined to give their names when Bolling asked.
“No, I don’t want to do that. There’s no reason to insult them. But there are some people there that lot of people wouldn’t endorse,” Trump added, though he clarified that “they’re not gonna go anywhere.”
The former president also brought up the concern of low-polling candidates hostile to him, who would ask him “nasty questions.” He hypothesized that if he declined to go to the debate stage, candidates such as former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Vice President Mike Pence would accuse him of cowardice.
“I did CNN town hall — that was about as hostile as you can do,” Trump said. “I hear I did very well because, you know, I did so well that they fired the head of CNN over that. But no, it’s not a question of guts; it’s a question of intelligence. … But we’ll let people know next week.”