Is Obama and his team trying to get under Trump’s skin?
Former President Donald Trump is facing advice from former Obama adviser David Axelrod not to engage with his Republican challengers in this month’s upcoming debate, as reported by Newsweek.
Axelrod, a strategist in Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns, offered his perspective, suggesting that Trump should maintain the current status quo that seems to be favoring him. He pointed out that Trump currently holds a significant lead and cautioned against exposing himself to potential attacks, particularly from figures like Chris Christie.
The focal question surrounding the impending Republican presidential debate in Milwaukee revolves around Trump’s participation. Despite several Republican contenders meeting the requirements set by the Republican National Committee to be on stage on August 29, Trump’s presence remains uncertain. Although he hinted that a decision could be made in the coming week, he has not yet confirmed his appearance.
Notable figures such as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, former Vice President Mike Pence, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, Senator Tim Scott, and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum have fulfilled the criteria to be part of the debate. Some of these candidates are encouraging Trump to participate, aiming to challenge his standing.
After a public exchange between Trump and Christie over weight-related remarks, Christie responded directly to Trump, urging him to attend the debate if he’s bold enough to repeat his comments face-to-face. Pence’s campaign also expressed anticipation for a substantive debate and encouraged Trump’s attendance.
Never Back Down, the super PAC supporting DeSantis, emphasized Trump’s significance on the debate stage. They argued that Trump needs to broaden his appeal beyond his staunch supporters to have a chance in the general election, implying that his absence could be seen as a sign of campaign vulnerability.
Axelrod, while acknowledging potential advantages of Trump participating in the debate, opined that Trump might be better off organizing his own event to counterprogram the debate night. This could draw attention away from his competitors and their criticisms by having his followers tune into an exclusive Trump event.
In the midst of this, Trump expressed hesitation in signing a pledge to back the eventual Republican nominee, a prerequisite for the first primary debate. He questioned the inclusion of certain individuals and hinted at a desire to participate, citing his strong track record in debates and the need for a smart approach to leadership.