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Donald Trump to skip first Republican primary debate

Former President Donald Trump said he will not participate in the first Republican debate in Milwaukee on Wednesday. Photo by Tannen Maury/UPI
1 of 3 | Former President Donald Trump said he will not participate in the first Republican debate in Milwaukee on Wednesday. Photo by Tannen Maury/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 21 (UPI) -- Former President Donald Trump, saying he's confident he will be the Republican nominee for president in 2024, announced he will not participate in the first primary debate, set for Wednesday in Milwaukee.

Trump cited his "legendary" poll numbers that he said put him 46 points ahead of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the rest of the field.

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"The public knows who I am and what a successful Presidency I had, with Energy Independence, Strong Borders and Military, Biggest EVER Tax and Regulation Cuts, No Inflation, Strongest Economy in History, and much more," Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform Sunday. "I WILL THEREFORE NOT BE DOING THE DEBATES!"

A second Republican debate is set for Sept. 27 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif.

In a post Friday, Trump suggested voters should support him without seeing him debate.

"ALL AMERICANS have been clamoring for a President of extremely High Intelligence," Trump wrote. "People know my Record, one of the BEST EVER, so why would I Debate? I'M YOUR MAN. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!"

The former president is facing criminal charges in four separate cases. He was indicted along with 18 other defendants on charges of attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in Fulton County, Ga., last week.

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Trump has also been charged in Washington for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Prior to that, he was charged with mishandling classified documents in Florida after leaving office. In April he pleaded not guilty to 34 felony charges related to hush-money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

Trump has decried the cases against him as being politically motivated.

He faces a long slate of contenders in the GOP presidential primary, at least eight of whom have qualified for Wednesday's debate: former Vice President Mike Pence, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

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