It is clear why Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump wanted to skip out on the now-canceled Fox News GOP debate that was scheduled for next Monday — that is, it’s clear to “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace.
Wallace, who has co-moderated each of the Fox News debates, said in a radio interview Wednesday that policy is not Trump’s greatest strength. Since the field has winnowed to three, policy talk would probably dominate much of the conversation in the previously planned Salt Lake City forum.
“I don’t think it’s an illogical move from him,” Wallace said on the “Kilmeade and Friends” radio program. “If I were Trump or I were Trump’s campaign manager, I would say, there have been a dozen debates, he appeared in 11 of them. I don’t think he will pay the price at all now that the debate has been canceled.”
The Fox moderator went on to say he doesn’t see debates as the GOP front-runner’s “best venue.”
“Let’s face it, when it comes to the details of policy, it isn’t his strong point,” Wallace said. “His strong point is kind of his gut, visceral, broad-brush picture appeal, as opposed to, ‘Well let’s drill down into the fine point of this.’”
Additionally, the Fox News host said, the debate points out differences between the candidates, which wouldn’t serve Trump well as he tries to become a unifying character in the Republican Party.
Wallace was bewildered by Republican presidential contender John Kasich’s decision to also withdraw from the final GOP showdown, noting the frequency with which the Ohio governor has complained about how little talking time he has received in past debates.
“Kasich has whined in every debate about how he doesn’t get called on,” Wallace argued. “If he had said, ‘Yes, I will be in that debate,’ we would have held the debate. And he and Cruz would have had two hours to debate policy.”
Wallace signaled that the move may have been strategic, that Kasich, who severely lags behind both Trump and GOP rival Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) in the delegate count, might be vying for the vice presidency on a Trump ticket.
“Maybe he is thinking let’s keep that avenue open as a possible running mate,” he opined. “I know he has denied it, that he would ever be the vice president.”
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