Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum of Fox News are slated to moderate the first GOP presidential primary debate of the 2024 election cycle, and while it remains unclear whether former President Donald Trump will participate in the event, Baier and MacCallum will be prepared either way.
"We will have questions for every candidate up there, including former President Trump if he decides to join us," MacCallum said, according to Politico.
"If he's not there, he'll still be there," Baier said, according to the outlet. "In other words, he'll be a part of questioning. There may be sound bites, there may be elements where 'this is what the leader of the primary says about this issue.' He'll be there, even if he's not there."
"For the most part, we talk about subjects as buckets of questions," Baier noted. "The buckets wouldn't change that much whether he's in or not. Maybe some of the interaction between candidates would change a bit."
The debate will take place next week on August 23 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Trump, who holds a massive lead over the rest of the GOP primary pack, has indicated that he may skip the debate.
In order to be eligible to participate, the Republican National Committee is requiring candidates to pledge to support the party's eventual nominee. Trump has questioned how much he could really benefit by debating when he is already dominating in the polls. He has also said that he will not sign the required pledge to support the eventual nominee, noting that there are some individuals he would not support for the presidency.
Candidates must also meet certain polling and donor thresholds in order to qualify for the debate.
"Will ratings be higher with Donald Trump on the stage? Of course, of course. He always creates fireworks," Baier noted, according to Politico. "If he does not come, that heightens the drama to be the candidate that becomes the 'not Trump' candidate.
"Because that's eventually what this GOP primary is going to come down to ... the former president, likely against someone else that voters decide is the alternative to him. And it's early in the process, … but that lifts up that whole battle onstage," he said.
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