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Fox News limits the Trump campaign’s passes to the GOP debate

Trump surrogates won’t get automatic credentials, but they’ll still be able to get into the “spin room” if invited by a media organization.
A Georgia prosecutor is expected to seek a grand jury indictment in the coming weeks in her investigation into efforts by Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the former president’s 2020 election loss.
Former President Donald Trump is sitting out the first GOP presidential primary debate.Matt Rourke / AP file

Several of Donald Trump’s top allies intend to attend the GOP’s first presidential primary debate Wednesday in Milwaukee, even though the former president intends to skip the event.

Fox News, which is hosting the debate, sent the Republican campaigns a memo Monday, which was obtained by NBC News. It said the organization will provide automatic credentials for the post-debate “spin room” only to surrogates for candidates who are participating in the debate.

In other words, Trump — who qualified for the debate but has chosen to sit it out — and candidates who did not meet the criteria to be onstage will not get automatic access to the media area.

The Fox News memo — which was first reported by Axios — does not, however, expressly prohibit Trump’s allies from the debate or the spin room. It says people may attend as guests of other news organizations.

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Donald Trump Jr. indicated Monday that he will travel to Milwaukee for the debate, and a senior adviser to Kari Lake, the former Arizona candidate for governor who is a notable Trump ally, said Lake will also still attend even though Fox News did not provide the Trump campaign with its own batch of spin room credentials.

“Kari Lake looks forward to attending the debate. And if Fox thinks otherwise, they’re welcome to call her,” the senior adviser, Caroline Wren, told NBC News.

At least three of Trump’s staunchest Republican allies in Congress also plan to be in Milwaukee for Wednesday’s debate: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Reps. Matt Gaetz and Byron Donalds of Florida. 

Trump intends to be at his club in Bedminster, New Jersey, on Wednesday night. He has already recorded an interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, which he intends to use as debate-night counterprogramming.