Former President Donald Trump will hold an Iowa town hall with Fox News Channel next week, directly opposite CNN’s debate featuring 2024 rivals Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis, FNC announced Tuesday.
Trump, 77, is confirmed to miss the fifth debate of the Republican primary calendar Jan. 10 in favor of the one-hour Des Moines event moderated by Fox News chief political anchor Bret Baier and “The Story” host Martha MacCallum.
The Trump town hall will begin at 9 p.m. ET, the same time as the CNN debate at nearby Drake University.
Haley, the former ambassador to the United Nations and onetime governor of South Carolina, and DeSantis, the governor of Florida, are expected to be the only two participants in the CNN debate after biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie failed to meet the network’s requirement of hitting 10% in three Iowa or national polls.
Trump’s campaign has refused to consider having the former president debate his primary rivals, citing his massive lead in national and early state polls.
Both DeSantis and Haley have urged Trump to join them on the debate stage.
“With only three candidates qualifying, it’s time for Donald Trump to show up,” Haley, 51, said in a statement Tuesday. “As the debate stage continues to shrink, it’s getting harder for Donald Trump to hide.”
“Stop being a keyboard warrior and let’s step up and debate one-on-one,” DeSantis urged the former president last month. “He’s had a lot to say about me over the last year. Say it to my face. I’m game.”
Since his departure from the White House, Trump has had a love-hate relationship with Fox News — bashing it publicly from his Truth Social account on occasion.
Still, the former president has made several appearances on the network since launching his latest White House campaign in November of 2022, including a town hall with Sean Hannity the day before the fourth GOP debate.
Back in June, Trump sat for an interview with Baier, who grilled him on a range of issues such as his handling of classified documents, his 2020 election fraud claims, and more.
Trump lashed out at Baier afterwards, describing the interview as “nasty,” while maintaining “I thought I did a good job.”
Fox News teased that the Jan. 10 town hall “will focus on the leading issues facing voters ahead of the Iowa Caucus,” which will be held Jan. 15.
“The town hall marks the first time the former president will sit with Baier and MacCallum jointly since May 2020.”