Fox, RNC finalize Milwaukee debate, Trump surrogates to obtain new credentials for entry

Fox said that Trump campaign surrogates would be prevented from attending.

Libby Emmons Brooklyn NY

The Republican National Committee and Fox News have finalized the slate of candidates that will be participating in the first GOP primary debate—and frontrunner President Donald Trump will not be among them. Trump has declined to participate, citing his commanding lead in polling.

A new poll from South Carolina shows Trump crushing DeSantis by 34 points, and while the going wisdom from the pundit class has been that Trump can win the nomination but not the general election, CNN admitted that Trump's solid shot at taking back the White House cannot be ignored.

A Harvard Harris poll showed Trump not only dominating the GOP field but beating Biden in the general election. While both men are burdened with legal woes, Trump's four indictments have only bolstered his support. The case against Biden, just forming in Delaware under special counsel David Weiss and ongoing in Congress under Rep. James Comer, are still in the early stages. It is unclear what impact these investigations into financial deals, including alleged bribery and influence peddling, could have on the president.

Many feel the prosecution of Trump is political in nature, with the former president facing some 600 years in prison time were he convicted on all the many counts from New York to Georgia to the Department of Justice. 74 percent of Republican voters believe Trump is innocent of all charges and has done nothing wrong.

The August 23, Milwaukee stage will feature Governor Doug Burgum, Governor Chris Christie, Governor Ron DeSantis, Ambassador Nikki Haley, Governor Asa Hutchinson, Vice President Mike Pence, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Senator Tim Scott. Those attending pledged to support whoever the Republican nominee turns out to be.

The debate will stream live on Rumble.

"The RNC is excited to showcase our diverse candidate field and the conservative vision to beat Joe Biden on the debate stage Wednesday night," RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel said. "I’d like to thank the RNC’s debate committee Chairman Dave Bossie and Co-Chair Anne Hathaway and our debate partners, Fox News, Young America’s Foundation, and Rumble for their work to kick off the primary process that will put our Party and eventual nominee in the best position to take back the White House next fall."

After Trump said he would not attend, opting instead for an interview with Tucker Carlson on his new streaming show, Fox said that Trump campaign surrogates would be prevented from attending under the credential of being with a presidential campaign. Donald Trump Jr. and fiancee Kimberly Guilfoyle had planned to attend.

CNN's Alayna Treene clarified the policy, saying "Fox News, which is hosting the first GOP primary debate, informed the Trump campaign on Monday they will no longer provide credentials to some Trump surrogates to attend the spin room given Trump is not planning on participating."

"Members of Trump’s campaign, including his senior advisers, were also planning on being in the spin room," Treene continued. "But Fox News is in charge of credentials for the spin room. The RNC manages credentials for the actual debate, and sources said those tickets are still expected be honored."

Additional supporters of Trump who had anticipated attending are Kari Lake and Florida Reps. Byron Donalds and Matt Gaetz. 

"Members of Trump's teams and his surrogates, however, are still planning on traveling to Milwaukee and are working on a resolution with the network as well as the RNC, two Trump advisers told CNN," Treene said.

This is not a ban specific to Trump surrogates, but to all campaigns of those who did not make the grade to land on the stage. Negotiations, however, to allow Trump surrogates to join Fox's after debate "spin room" are apparently still ongoing.

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