Former US President Donald Trump has confirmed that he will not participate in the first Republican Party debate scheduled to take place on Wednesday.
In a post on his Truth Social app on Sunday, Trump wrote: "New CBS POLL, just out, has me leading the field by 'legendary' numbers. The public knows who I am & what a successful Presidency I had, with Energy Independence, Strong Borders & Military, Biggest EVER Tax & Regulation Cuts, No Inflation, Strongest Economy in History, & much more.
"I WILL THEREFORE NOT BE DOING THE DEBATES!"
It was not imemdiately clear whether the 77-year-old former President meant he will sit out all currently scheduled debates or any and all future debates, CNN reported.
Trump, America's 45th President in 2017-21 who has been criminally indicted four times, has repeatedly suggested that he would not join the Republican debates.
He cited polls that showed him leading other candidates by "seemingly insurmountable numbers" and had complained that proposed moderators and venues might be "hostile" towards him.
Wednesday’s primary debate is the first of the 2024 cycle and a second debate can possibly follow the next day, the BBC reported.
At least two more debates are expected in the ensuing months.
To qualify for a debate, candidates must have at least 40,000 unique donors, with at least 200 unique donors per state, and must reach at least 1 per cent in three national polls meeting the Republican National Committee’s requirements or at least 1 per cent in two national polls and two polls from separate early voting states.
Voting in the Republican primary election will begin in the state of Iowa on January 15, 2024.
Recent polls have consistently shown that Trump, despite the criminal charges, is currently the frontrunner for the Republican nomination.
Candidates are also expected to sign a loyalty pledge expressing their commitment to unite and back the eventual Republican nominee, regardless of who that is, reports CNN.
To this point, former Vice President Mike Pence, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, South Carolina Governor Tim Scott, and former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie have all qualified.