Donald Trump has confirmed that he will not take part in Republican presidential debates with his rivals in the race for the White House.
The ex-president said one latest poll showed he had “legendary” numbers ahead of other hopefuls to be the party’s nominee for the 2024 election.
“The public knows who I am & what a successful Presidency I had,” Trump, 77, wrote in a post on social media.
The first Republican presidential primary debate will be on August 23.
The second debate can possibly follow the next day. At least two more debates are expected in the ensuing months.
Voting in the Republican primary election begins in the state of Iowa on 15 January 2024, but more debates are likely to be held to help winnow the field.
Recent polls have consistently shown that Trump – who faces a number of criminal charges – is currently the frontrunner for the Republican nomination.
In a post on his Truth Social platform on Sunday, Trump wrote: “New CBS POLL, just out, has me leading the field by “legendary” numbers.”
He added that several other contenders – including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis – were lagging far behind.
“The public knows who I am & what a successful Presidency I had, with Energy Independence, Strong Borders & Military, Biggest EVER Tax & Regulation Cuts, No Inflation, Strongest Economy in History, & much more.
“I WILL THEREFORE NOT BE DOING THE DEBATES!”
In recent months, Trump had repeatedly suggested that he would not join the Republican debates.
He had cited polls that showed him leading other candidates by “seemingly insurmountable numbers” and had complained that proposed moderators and venues might be “hostile” towards him.
Other Republican presidential hopefuls have so far not commented on the latest developments.
Donald Trump, America’s 45th president in 2017-21, has been criminally indicted four times, and will have a series of trials to attend in 2024 as he runs again for the White House.
He describes the charges against him as a political “witch hunt”.
The charges could – in theory – lead to substantial prison time if Trump is convicted.
But the logistics, security and politics of jailing a former president mean a conventional prison sentence is seen as unlikely by many experts. (BBC)