Trump looking to steal attention from Republican debate

DES MOINES, Iowa - Republican presidential candidates take the debate stage Thursday night absent their front-runner, Donald Trump, who will instead seek to starve his rivals of attention at a critical juncture in the campaign by holding a competing event of his own.

See Full Article

Trump's abrupt decision to boycott the final debate before Monday's Iowa caucuses has added a new layer of uncertainty to a race that has defied political convention. He cited "unfair" treatment from debate host Fox News as his reason for skipping the contest and holding a rally instead.

"I don't like being taken advantage of," Trump said in an interview Wednesday on Fox, signalling he wasn't boycotting the highly rated network completely.

Other GOP candidates saw Trump's move as a welcome opportunity to emerge from the long shadow the billionaire has cast over the race, while also hoping it might damage his standing with Iowa voters.

"I think it'll hurt him that he's not showing up in the Iowa debate four days before the Iowa caucuses," former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told CNN.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said Republicans "don't have time for these kinds of distractions."

Trump has led the Republican race nationally for months, to the surprise of many. In Iowa, however, polls suggest he's locked in a tight race with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a favourite of the conservatives and evangelical Christians who hold significant sway in the state's Republican caucuses.

Given Trump's unpredictable nature, some campaigns were preparing for the possibility he could reverse course and take the stage in Des Moines after all. Still, Trump moved forward with plans to host a rally just a few miles away that his campaign said would raise money for wounded warriors.

With Fox carrying the debate, other cable channels were likely to show Trump's event, stealing away at least some viewers who would have otherwise watched the contest.

"I think it's typical Trump," said Don Kass, chairman of Iowa's Plymouth County GOP. "He's betting on him making a bigger splash."

While earlier debates have been instrumental in the rise and fall of several GOP candidates, they have had minimal apparent impact on Trump's standing. He's preferred to make his case to potential voters in national television interviews and on Twitter, and has often faded into the background in the debates.

Trump's absence was likely to turn attention to Cruz, a firebrand conservative disdained by many in his party, and Rubio, who is hoping a third-place finish in Iowa could help him establish himself as the choice of more traditional Republicans.

Others on the debate stage will have their eye on New Hampshire, where they're hoping a strong showing in the Feb. 9 primary will jumpstart their White House hopes. Bush, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have all devoted the bulk of their campaign resources to New Hampshire.

Also on the main debate stage Thursday: retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who has a loyal following in Iowa, and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who was relegated to the undercard event in the last debate.

Trump's Fox feud dates back to the first Republican primary debate, when moderator Megyn Kelly took the billionaire business mogul to task over derogatory statements he'd made in the past toward women. Trump threatened to boycott Thursday's debate if Fox stuck with plans for Kelly to moderate again, but said it was a sarcastic statement from the network that was the final straw.

That statement said the leaders of Iran and Russia "both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they meet with him if he becomes president" and that "Trump has his own secret plan to replace the Cabinet with his Twitter followers to see if he should even go to those meetings."

Trump and his campaign manager slammed the statement as taunting and juvenile.

-----

Associated Press writers Steve Peoples and Jill Colvin contributed to this report.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Fellony the felon hit with new felony charges

    World News Toronto Sun
    Fellony the serial felon has been hit with new felony charges, according to reports. Fellony Hudson, 22, of Salem, Ore., has been charged with felony kidnapping, felony eluding, felony possession of a stolen vehicle and various other misdemeanors after cops chased the ironically-named man across state lines last week. Source
  • Trump lashes out at fellow Republicans in Twitter tirade

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is expressing his frustration with fellow Republicans, saying they “do very little to protect their President.” In one of several tweets issued Sunday afternoon and evening, Trump said the lack of support happens even with “some that were carried over the line on my back. Source
  • Chainsaw-wielding man wounds five in Switzerland

    World News Toronto Sun
    BERLIN — An unkempt man armed with a chainsaw wounded five people Monday at an office building in the northern Swiss city of Schaffhausen and then fled, police said. A manhunt was on for him. Police were alerted to the attack at 10:39 a.m. Source
  • Pregnant woman stabbed multiple times at her Montreal home

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL - Police say a 33-year-old pregnant woman was stabbed several times early Monday morning in her home in the city's north end. Authorities say the victim was attacked by her partner, who fled the scene when police arrived. Source
  • At least 12 dead in car bombing in eastern Pakistan

    World News CBC News
    Pakistani officials say a car bomb has killed 12 people and wounded 25 in the eastern city of Lahore. A statement from Malik Mohammad Ahmed, a spokesman for government of the eastern Punjab province, said the car bomb struck an old vegetable market in the neighbourhood of Kot Lakhpat on Lahore's outskirts on Monday. Source
  • Police-reported pot offences decline in 2016: StatsCan

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- The number of cannabis-related offences reported to police was down again last year, for the fifth time in a row. Statistics Canada says there were about 55,000 offences related to marijuana reported to police in 2016, which is about 6,000 fewer than reported the year before, despite the fact that overall, the percentage of Canadians who consume the drug has gone up over time. Source
  • Jared Kushner says he has ‘nothing to hide’ on Russia

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner denied Monday that he colluded with Russians in the course of President Donald Trump’s successful White House bid, declaring in a statement ahead of interviews with congressional committees that he has “nothing to hide. Source
  • Montreal newborn fights for life after mom repeatedly stabbed

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    A newborn infant is fighting for its life in a Montreal hospital Monday morning after being delivered by caesarian section after its 33-year-old mother was repeatedly stabbed. Police say that while the mother's condition has stabilized, the child is in critical condition. Source
  • Trump has no immediate plans to fill vacant White House job of 'first pet'

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Politically ambitious pups and kittens: Put your resumes aside. The job of first pet -- an enviable White House gig with luxurious live-in privileges, after-hours access to the president and guaranteed positive press coverage -- is not currently available. Source
  • B.C. teen completes 12 hour swim across English Channel for charity

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    KELOWNA, B.C. — While many teens spend summers relaxing, a 17-year-old from Kelowna, B.C., has been pushing her body and mind to the limits and raising thousands of dollars for charity in the process. Emily Epp swam across the English Channel earlier this month in a gruelling trek that took nearly 12 hours to complete. Source