Fox News has canceled next week’s Republican presidential debate in Salt Lake City after GOP frontrunner Donald Trump declared he wouldn’t be participating, and he was followed shortly thereafter by John Kasich.
With the field down to just three candidates, that left only Ted Cruz as a participant, forcing the network to scrap the debate.
Trump, who had previously stated that there had been “enough” debates, said he would be making a “major speech” at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference in Washington, D.C. instead.
“I thought the last debate on CNN was the last debate, that was going to be it. Nobody told me there were going to be more debates,” Trump said during an appearance on Fox and Friends. “I think we’ve had enough debates.”
The only problem with that explanation is that the debate was added to the schedule in February, and Cruz and Kasich clearly knew about it.
After Trump’s announcement, Kasich strategist John Weaver tweeted about the cancellation and took a shot at the frontrunner: “No debate in SLC Monday due to Trump backing out. No surprise Trump avoiding contrast. Utah: @JohnKasich headed your way Fri.”
Weaver’s explanation for the withdrawal is probably more accurate than Trump’s, but in this case I think Trump is right to say that there have been enough debates.
There have been a dozen debates in which the GOP candidates have beaten each other up and given plenty of fodder to the Democrats. And While Trump may have backed out because he didn’t want to face the tough questioning from Fox News moderators, as some have suggested, another debate at this stage is unlikely to change voters’ minds about the remaining candidates, and would have been a waste of time. It is time that could be better spent honing their attacks on the likely Democratic nominee—Hillary Clinton—and not each other.