Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump abruptly announced here Tuesday that he would not participate in Thursday’s scheduled debate, escalating his off-and-on feud with Fox News Channel and throwing the GOP campaign into turmoil. Trump’s assertion, which his campaign manager insisted was irreversible, came less than one week before the kickoff Iowa caucuses. He once again defied the conventional rules of politics, and used his power and prominence to shape the campaign agenda and conversation.
So far, Trump’s untraditional moves have only expanded his support, but his threatened boycott leaves him open to criticism that for all his tough talk he is ducking face-to-face confrontations with his opponents and scrutiny from the Fox moderators. Given Trump’s past flirtations with boycotting Fox, many will doubt his declaration until they see the other candidates take the debate stage on Thursday night without him. CONTINUE