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

  • Ontario to call public inquiry into Elizabeth Wettlaufer murders

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- The case of a nurse who murdered eight seniors in long-term care homes in Ontario will be examined in a public inquiry. The Ontario government announced Monday it is moving to appoint a commissioner to lead a public inquiry into the circumstances of the deaths. Source
  • Canadian English accent surprisingly uniform coast to coast: researchers

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- Celebrations across Canada this weekend may look different from one community to the next, but for most of the country it will all sound the same. Derek Denis, a post-doctoral researcher of linguistics at the University of Victoria, said more than just the stereotypical "eh?" unites Canadians. Source
  • Arkansas fugitive recaptured after 32 years on the run

    World News Toronto Sun
    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The mother of an Arkansas prison escapee who had been on the run for more than three decades said she has been in contact with her son since soon after his escape and that he was visiting her when he was arrested. Source
  • Personal chemistry key as Trump meets India PM for first time

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump meets for the first time Monday with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and personal chemistry as much as policy could determine the direction of future relations. The leaders of the world's two largest democracies will convene at the White House. Source
  • Subway digging unearths 'Mini-Pompeii' in Rome

    World News Toronto Sun
    ROME — Digging for Rome’s new subway has unearthed the charred ruins of an early 3rd-century building and the 1,800-year-old skeleton of a crouching dog that apparently perished in the same blaze that collapsed the structure. Archaeologists on Monday said they made the discovery on May 23 while examining a 10-meter (33-foot) -deep hole bored near the ancient Aurelian Walls as part of construction work for the Metro C line. Source
  • Class of one: Nova Scotia teen is the only graduate at his high school

    Canada News CTV News
    He’s already been named valedictorian with the highest grades in his year and he stands a pretty good chance of being crowned king at his school’s prom. In fact, he may just be eligible to win every award at his graduation. Source
  • Trump awaits big meeting with Putin

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is eager to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin with full diplomatic bells and whistles when the two are in Germany for a multinational summit next month. But the idea is exposing deep divisions within the administration on the best way to approach Moscow in the midst of an ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. Source
  • Girl's actions caused her to fall from NY park ride, police say

    World News CTV News
    QUEENSBURY, N.Y. -- As authorities tried to determine exactly how a 14-year-old Delaware girl managed to fall from a New York amusement park ride, one industry expert said even the strictest safety guidelines won't prevent accidents if customers don't follow the rules. Source
  • Professor who backed black-only Memorial Day celebration on Fox News fired by Essex County College

    World News Toronto Sun
    A mouthy college professor who was fired last week after making a litany of outrageous statements on live TV compared her removal from Essex County College to a “public lynching.” Lisa Durden, a former communications professor at the New Jersey-based institution, was dismissed following a controversial appearance on Fox News' Tucker Carlson Tonight. Source
  • Donald Trump: SCOTUS' travel ban decision 'clear victory' for national security

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court of the United States is letting a limited version of President Donald Trump’s ban on travel from six mostly Muslim countries take effect, a victory for Trump in the biggest legal controversy of his young presidency. Source