Former President Donald Trump will skip the second Republican presidential primary debate next week in California to give a competing address the same night in Detroit, his campaign confirmed.
The exact time and audience are not yet clear, but the New York Times first reported Trump would skip the California debate in favor of remarks to a union crowd. Trump will speak in the same city where United Auto Workers members have taken to the picket lines to demand higher wages, better schedules and better benefits.
The former president’s decision comes as polling shows he is the strong frontrunner in the Republican field, a reason he has given for skipping the debates entirely. The former president skipped the first GOP debate for a primetime interview with Tucker Carlson.
The second GOP debate is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 9 p.m. ET, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. Stuart Varney and Dana Perino, of Fox News, will moderate the debate, with Univision’s Ilia Calderón.
The Republican National Committee has not yet confirmed which candidates have qualified to participate in the debate, which requires reaching a minimum threshold of polling numbers and unique campaign donors. So far, it appears that aside from Trump, other candidates likely meeting the requirements would be entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy; former U.N. ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley; former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; former Vice President Mike Pence; Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis; and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott. Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum appear not to have qualified yet.
A new CBS News poll found Trump edging out President Biden in a head-to-head matchup, with Trump at 50% and Mr. Biden at 49%.