MILWAUKEE — There are only two weeks left until the first Republican presidential primary debate in Milwaukee at Fiserv Forum, and front-runner and former President Donald Trump is yet to announce if he will participate.
Eight candidates have qualified to take the stage. Trump, who has indicated he may not participate, now said during a new interview Wednesday evening, he hasn't ruled it out.
“It's not a question of guts. It’s a question of intelligence,” Trump said. "I'm gonna make a decision. I haven't totally ruled it out. I would love to do it in many ways because I sort of enjoy that. But, we'll let people know next week."
Trump went on to say, “I'd like to do it. I’ve actually gotten very good marks on debating talents...They want a smart president. They want somebody that’s going to be smart.”
Trump also says he would not sign a pledge to support the eventual nominee if he loses the primary.
In order to qualify to get on the debate stage, candidates need to pledge to support the eventual nominee, as well as poll at 1% in three national polls, and have 40,000 people donate to their campaign (200 donors in 20+ states).
The first GOP presidential primary debate will be held on Aug. 23. It is not open to the general public. The Republican Party of Wisconsin said the Republican National Committee and its debate partners, including moderator Fox News and Young America's Foundation, are in control of tickets.
Fox News Channel anchors Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum will co-moderate the debate.
Fox News announced the debate will take place at Fiserv Forum from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Republican National Convention (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel previously said that if enough candidates qualify, there will be a second debate on Aug. 24. The criteria to qualify for the debate are grouped as candidate status, polling, fundraising, and candidate pledging.
The RNC will be held in Milwaukee July 15-18, 2024. It is estimated to bring nearly 50,000 visitors to the city.