EXCLUSIVE: Is there a chance TRUMP attends the fourth Republican debate? Organizers set up a lectern for the former president and his campaign asks when they can make the ‘final decision’ with less than a week to go
- GOP candidates face off next week in Alabama for the NewsNation debate
- Images of the stage preparations show five lecterns – one of which is for Trump
- Source says Trump representative took part in a logistics discussion with organizers on Thursday
NewsNation organizers are setting up five lecterns in preparation for next week’s Republican presidential debate, fueling speculation that Donald Trump could finally meet his rivals in person on stage.
Amid the growing clash among Republicans hoping to take on President Biden, organizers are building a set for the live television smackdown, which comes just weeks before the Iowa Caucuses.
An image obtained by DailyMail.com shows five white lecterns evenly arranged on the stage of the Frank Moody Music Building on the campus of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, where the candidates will debate. That would include one for the former president, who skipped the first three televised games while mocking the participants and calling the previous debates “unwatchable.”
A representative for NewsNation, which is hosting the debate, also called a Trump representative to discuss logistics for attending the event, a source familiar with the debate plans told DailyMail.com.
Blowjob dream? Set construction at the site of the fourth presidential debate shows plans for five lecterns – enough to accommodate both Donald Trump and four leading candidates
The Trump representative wanted to know specific information about a drop-dead deadline for canceling membership. “He asked how much time before the debate the president would need to make a final decision,” the source said.
The answer will be determined by the Republican National Committee, which has set the ground rules for the debate. Participants must submit a note 48 hours in advance, giving the Trump camp just days to make a final decision before the debate, which will take place Wednesday at 8 p.m. — assuming Trump is even interested.
Organizers also spoke to key rival Republican campaigns that would be in attendance.
The Trump World investigation stemmed from a call in which organizers spoke to each of the potential participants about key information, including debate rules and format, security for incoming candidates and green rooms where candidates can consolidate themselves and cheer before the cameras are rolling.
A Trump appearance would be a shock, both because of his success so far, even if he skipped the debates, and because he reported Thursday that he plans a fundraiser in Miami for December 6, the same date as the debate.
It comes a week after a source told DailyMail.com that the Secret Service had searched the location, raising questions about whether Trump could attend as he is the only Republican candidate to receive Secret Service protection.
Former President Donald Trump has built a nearly 50 percentage point lead in the polls as he skipped the debates that saw him rise to the top of the pack in 2016
There were some attacks on Trump during the last debate, amid gossip among his distant rivals
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The fourth GOP debate will take place on December 6 at the Frank Moody Music Building at the University of Alabama
But a source familiar with the Trump campaign’s planning seemed to dismiss the idea at the time, stating unequivocally: “President Trump will not attend the next debate.”
The event will be moderated by NewsNation anchor Elizabeth Vargas, along with Megyn Kelly of SiriusXM and Eliana Johnson of the Washington Free Beacon.
If Trump is questioned on stage by Kelly, it would be a return to the blockbuster Fox News debate where he was Trump sparring with the moderator during the 2016 campaign.
DailyMail.com has reached out to NewsNation and the Trump camp for comment.
Trump has consolidated his lead in the polls over his rivals even as he skipped the first three presidential debates, a status that allows him to resist pressure from DeSantis and others to attend. He has a 48-point lead over DeSantis in the RealClearPolitics polling average.