Millions Ditch GOP Debate To Watch Carlson’s Trump Interview

Although Fox News Channel hosted the first Republican presidential primary debate on Wednesday, the race’s early and dominant front-runner was not on the stage.

Instead, he opted to sit down with former Fox News personality Tucker Carlson for an interview that streamed on X — the social media platform formerly known as Twitter — at the same time the debate was airing on TV.

Trump announced his intention to bypass the debate earlier this week, explaining in a post on Truth Social that the public is already familiar with his record. It was unclear from his statement on Sunday whether he intends to participate in any debates in the primary election season.

Although the eight candidates on stage in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, discussed Trump at times — including whether they would support him in the even that he is the GOP nominee and has been convicted of one or more crimes — he emerged generally unscathed and was declared by a pundits across the political spectrum as the winner in absentia.

Meanwhile, Trump had a forum to address a wide range of topics during his interview with Carlson, which had racked up well over 150 million views on X as of Thursday morning. While that number does not necessarily reflect the number of people who watched a significant portion of the streaming event, it was clearly a big draw for Carlson, Trump, and the social media platform.

The former president took shots at his Republican rivals, President Joe Biden, and even Fox News.

“Fox is way down,” he said, declaring that “the good old days” of the network’s generally right-leaning news coverage are now over.

“We’ll get better ratings on this crazy forum you’re using than, probably, the debate, the competition,” Trump predicted.

The former president described his successor as “the most corrupt president we’ve ever had,” noting that Biden “also has the distinction of being the most incompetent.”

As for Trump’s mounting legal issues, including criminal charges in Georgia for which he planned to surrender to authorities the day after his interview, Carlson asked his guest how he can “still stay cheerful” in the face of multiple indictments.

“I think it’s easier because I’m so high in the polls and it shows that the people get it,” he replied. “The people see it’s a fraud. And the people see this horrible district attorney. She said basically that I have no right to challenge an election. Well, what about Stacey Abrams? What about Hillary Clinton? What about all the Democrats?”

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