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Trump confirms he will skip the first GOP debate — and maybe future ones, as well

A source familiar with Trump's thinking told NBC News that the former president's social media post making the declaration applies only to the first two debates.
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Donald Trump confirmed Sunday that he will skip the first Republican presidential primary debate Wednesday — and indicated he may not attend future ones, either.

The former president wrote on his Truth Social media platform that polling shows him leading in the Republican primary field by such a wide margin that he doesn't need to stand alongside his rivals on the debate stage.

“The public knows who I am & what a successful Presidency I had,” Trump wrote. “I WILL THEREFORE NOT BE DOING THE DEBATES!”

A source familiar with Trump’s thinking said the decision applies to only the first two debates, which are affiliated with Fox News and Fox Business. The source declined to rule out the possibility that Trump may change his mind.

Co-moderators Martha MacCallum and Bret Baier of Fox News will host the first Republican presidential primary debate Wednesday in Wisconsin. Fox Business will host the second debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute in Simi Valley, California, in late September. 

NBC News previously reported that Trump had made up his mind to forgo the first debate with his 2024 Republican rivals and was instead looking to schedule a sit-down interview during that time with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

Nine candidates — including Trump — have qualified for Wednesday's debate stage, according to an NBC News analysis of the Republican National Committee's requirements to get onto the stage.