Former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said former President Donald Trump’s decision not to attend the first Republican primary debate was a “political miscalculation.”
McEnany, speaking on Fox News, claimed that her former boss’s decision would play out to President Joe Biden’s advantage and give him an excuse to avoid a debate with Trump. She also argued that his refusal to show up would allow his rivals to criticize him without being able to defend himself.
“You never want to let someone else stand in that center podium,” she said. “This is going to be the biggest audience of any Republican event that we have seen this year, could be the biggest audience ever; it’s the first GOP debate. You’re giving the center podium to someone else. You’re allowing these other candidates to have more time to share their stories. Not only that; two hours of attacks, you will get attacked, even if you’re not there, and no one can answer those attacks better than President Donald Trump himself. He’s really good at it. He’s masterful in that.”
She then referred to reports that Biden doesn’t want to debate and speculated that he could use Trump’s decision not to attend the debate as a reason not to.
“You are giving Joe Biden a card to say, ‘I’m going to use the Trump debate standard and not show up because I’m so ahead in my internal polls. I’m just not coming,’ so you’re giving a card to your opponent that he could pull if he tried,” she added.
Trump’s Republican opponents will debate each other on Wednesday, with the stage consisting of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, former Vice President Mike Pence, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Gov. Doug Burgum (R-ND), former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
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