Trump, Carson, threaten debate boycott

October 16, 2015

Republican pack leaders Donald Trump and Ben Carson have threatened to boycott the next Republican pre-primary debate, citing CNBC’s “ridiculous” terms, and demanding a format change.

Pitching a unified front, in a joint letter to the network posted online, Carson and Trump demanded the time allotted to the third debate be no longer than 120 minutes—including commercials—and that it include opening and closing statements from each of the candidates, which the letter says were not included in the original agenda.

Republican candidates ahead of their second debate. REUTERS Mario Anzuoni

Their demands are likely in response to the second Republican debate, aired on CNN, which ran more than three hours, and was panned by political insiders and laymen alike for its extended timeframe.

Both candidates had highly coveted positions on the stage, Trump in center and Carson to his immediate right, and will likely maintain their positions in the upcoming debate, should they agree to appear.

Even if they do decide to skip out on the showdown, Carson and Trump, who collectively brought in more than $25 million in the third quarter, likely won’t suffer much missed publicity.

Trump, who has led the Republican field for most of the summer with no signs of slowing down, has made it no secret that he does not need to buy ads and airtime based on the amount of coverage he receives from the press. While Carson, a relative newcomer to the top tier of the pack who currently holds second place in most early polls, has also enjoyed increased visibility in recent weeks due to his meteoric rise in voter opinion and his oft off-the-cuff remarks.

After the letter went live, Trump took to Twitter to accuse CNBC of being greedy and attempting to exploit the GOP into agreeing to a longer debate time in order to make more money from commercials.

Both of the previously aired Republican debates racked in record viewers for their respective networks.

Update: Since submitting their ultimatum to the network, CNBC has reportedly acquiesced to the pack-leading pair’s demands.

On Friday morning, Trump tweeted the “fantastic” news that the debate time would stand at two hours.



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