Former President Donald Trump is planning to skip the first Republican presidential debate on Wednesday and is instead expected to sit for an interview with former Fox News Host Tucker Carlson, multiple sources familiar with his plans tell CNN.
Over the last 24 hours, Trump has increasingly been informing those close to him that he has made his decision, and will not be on the debate stage next week.
The timing for the Carlson interview has yet to be determined, the sources said, but it is expected to air around the same time as the debate. The New York Times first reported the details of the Carlson interview.
CNN previously reported that Trump was not expected to participate in the debate and that his campaign had engaged in conversations with Carlson about a potential interview as counterprogramming for the event.
Trump’s advisers continue to add the caveat, however, that the former president could ultimately change his mind and decide at the 11th hour that he wants to attend the debate.
Trump has both publicly and privately feuded with Fox News, as has Carlson, who left the network earlier this year after the network settled a monster defamation lawsuit with Dominion Voting Systems.
The former president has privately and publicly floated skipping either one or both of the first two Republican presidential primary debates, given his lead in the polls. The second presidential debate is scheduled for September at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California.
Wednesday’s primary debate is the first of the 2024 cycle. It will come just over a week after the former president was indicted for a fourth time, this time for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia. Negotiations between his lawyers and Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ office over the details of his surrender are expected to continue into next week, CNN previously reported. He faces an August 25 deadline to surrender.
This story has been updated with additional reporting.