Donald Trump has announced he will boycott the last Republican presidential debate before the Iowa cause.
Republican Hope for President has accused Fox News moderator Megin Kelly, whom he has confronted in the past, of being a “lightweight”.
The unexpected move prompted his closest rival, Senator Ted Cruz, to challenge him to an individual debate.
Donald Trump’s campaign manager announced the decision on January 26, leaving only 48 hours before the debate.
Corey Lewandowski said immediately after the press conference: “He will not be participating in the Fox News debate on Thursday.”
The announcement followed a press conference in which Donald Trump attacked Megin Kelly, claiming that she had “played” with him.
Donald Trump has said he intends to hold a separate event in Iowa at the same time as the debate on raising money for wounded veterans. Iowa is hosting the inaugural presidential competition on February 1.
“With me, they’re dealing with someone who’s a little different.” he said.
“They can’t play with me like they play with everyone else. Let them argue and see how they handle the ratings. “
On Tuesday night, the broadcast of her show Fox News, Kelly’s fileMegin Kelly said the debate would “continue with or without Mr. Trump.”
A Fox News spokesman said Donald Trump was still welcome to participate in the debate, but would not be allowed to “dictate moderators or questions.”
The Republican National Committee (RNC) said the decision depended on Donald Trump.
“Obviously we would be happy for all the candidates to participate, but in the end each campaign makes its own decision, which is in their best interest.” said RNC chief strategist Sean Spicer.
Donald Trump had added an element of unpredictability to the Republican contest and helped generate high ratings in the previous six Republican presidential debates.
His decision leaves seven other candidates in the debate: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Gov. Kachio and Ohio Gov. Gender.
Donald Trump, who is fighting Ted Cruz, drew media attention with provocative actions and statements, including a call for a temporary ban on all Muslims from entering the United States.