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Trump Pulls out of Fox News Debate to Escape Anchor Megyn Kelly

Trump has been engaged in a public spat with Fox News since Megyn Kelly questioned him about his treatment of women.

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US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump withdrew from a debate with party rivals out of anger towards the host of Fox News on Tuesday, leaving the last encounter before Iowa’s pivotal nominating contest without the front-runner.

The debate which will be co-hosted is scheduled for Thursday ahead of key Iowa Caucus. Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski has said as the Republican presidential front-runner accused the TV network of “playing games”.

Trump expressed irritation that Fox News planned to leave in place as a moderator, anchor Megyn Kelly, whose questioning of Trump at a debate last August angered him.

Trump has been engaged in a public spat with Fox News since the network hosted the first debate and Kelly asked Trump about his treatment of women, prompting a stream of insults from the candidate.

He also expressed displeasure at a statement released by Fox News on Monday night saying that Trump would have to learn sooner or later that “he doesn’t get to pick the journalists” and that “we’re very surprised he’s willing to show that much fear about being questioned by Megyn Kelly.”

I was all set to do the debate, I came here to do the debate. When they sent out the wise-guy press release done by some PR person along with (Fox News Chairman) Roger Ailes, I said, “Bye bye, OK”. Let’s see how much money Fox makes without me in the debate.

Donald Trump

Trump‘s campaign manager announced that instead of participating in the debate, he would hold a fundraiser for “Veterans and Wounded Warriors”.

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Trump‘s Republican rivals quickly criticised him for opting out of the debate.

The fact that Donald is now afraid to appear on the debate stage, that he doesn’t want his record questioned, I think that reflects a lack of respect for the men and women on Iowa. If Donald is afraid of Megyn Kelly, I would like to invite him on your show to participate in a one-on-one debate between me and Donald, mano-a-mano. If he thinks Megyn Kelly is so scary, what exactly does he think he’d do with Vladimir Putin?

Ted Cruz, Texas Senator

A boycott could prove risky for Trump as Iowa Republicans seek to take one more look at who they want as their presidential candidate. Rivals like Cruz, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Bush, and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson could reap benefits from Trump’s absence.

At his campaign event in Marshalltown, Trump expressed confidence in his position in the race, saying if he were to win Iowa, he could “run the table” and roll up subsequent victories in New Hampshire, South Carolina and beyond.

“Iowa is very important. So you’ve got to get out, you’ve got to get out and caucus,” he told his supporters.

(With inputs from PTI and Reuters.)

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