January 27, 2016 12:29 pm
Updated: January 27, 2016 8:26 pm

Donald Trump not backing down from Fox debate boycott

WATCH: Donald Trump says he won't be at the last Republican leadership debate before primary season gets underway next week because of an ongoing battle with the debate broadcaster, Fox News. As Jackson Proskow reports, the billionaire may not be risking much by walking away.


IOWA CITY, Iowa — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump isn’t backing down Wednesday from his threat to boycott this week’s GOP debate, where candidates have the opportunity to make their closing arguments before voting begins in Monday’s Iowa caucuses.

Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said in a pair of television interviews Wednesday that Trump, a billionaire businessman, “knows when to walk away from a bad deal.”

“They think they can toy with Mr. Trump,” Lewandowski said of Fox News on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “Mr. Trump doesn’t play games.”

The decision comes after a showdown between the network and GOP candidate over who should moderate Thursday night’s debate. Trump has been in a feud with Fox News host and scheduled debate moderator Megyn Kelly since the first Republican primary debate, when Kelly took Trump to task over derogatory statements he’d made in the past aimed at women.

WATCH: Just one day before the next Republican Debate on Fox News Channel — Donald Trump says he’ll boycott the event. 

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While Trump has threatened to skip debates in the past and not gone through with the threat, a sarcastic statement from Fox appeared to push him over the edge.

That statement said the leaders of Iran and Russia “both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they meet with him if he becomes president” and that “Trump has his own secret plan to replace the Cabinet with his Twitter followers to see if he should even go to those meetings.”

Trump, who has called Kelly a “lightweight” and biased, told reporters at an Iowa press conference Wednesday night that he would be holding a fundraising event in Iowa at the same time as the debate to benefit veterans and wounded soldiers instead.

WATCH: ‘Apparently Megyn Kelly is really, really scary’: Cruz jokes about Trump missing Fox News GOP debate

While Fox questioned how “Iowans are going to feel about him walking away from them at the last minute,” Lewandowski said the decision shows Trump is a leader who “understands when a bad deal is in front of him and is ready to walk away from a bad deal, something that this country should be able to do.”

“At the end of the day,” he added on MSNBC, “Mr. Trump is going to have the last laugh.”

© 2016 The Canadian Press

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