Fox News’s Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum will moderate the first Republican presidential debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Fox News Media President and Executive Editor Jay Wallace announced on Tuesday.
“We are extremely proud to have Bret and Martha moderating the first debate of the 2024 presidential election season as Americans learn more about the candidates ahead of exercising their constitutional right to vote,” Wallace announced.
His announcement comes roughly two months after Republican National Committee (RNC) Chair Ronna McDaniel announced that Fox News would host the first debate, taking place August 23 at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee.
“We’re also going to partner with some pretty exciting partners,” McDaniel said at the time. “For the first time ever, we’re going to live stream on Rumble.”
We’re getting away from Big Tech, YouTube’s owned by Google. We’re going to have an RNC channel on Rumble. And then the Young Americas Foundation, which is run by Scott Walker, to really reach out to young voters. They’re based in Wisconsin, so they’re going to be a partner as well.
The RNC announced the criteria for participation in the debate earlier this month, outlining four different categories for proper qualification. In addition to filing with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and having the proper forms filled out “designating the candidate’s principal campaign committee,” each qualifying candidate must meet certain polling thresholds and donor criteria.
Each candidate must have 40,000 unique donors to their respective presidential campaign committee, including “at least 200 unique donors per state or territory in 20+ states and/or territories,” according to a press release detailing the requirements. Further, each candidate must meet certain polling requirements, polling at least one percent in three national polls or polling at least one percent in two national polls in addition to one percent in a qualifying early state poll deemed legitimate by the RNC.
As Breitbart News detailed:
The RNC listed out a few qualifications for polls which would qualify, explaining that the survey must examine at least 800 registered likely Republican voters through a variety of means — online panels to calls — and order the questions in a way that does not “allow potential bias.” Additionally, the survey cannot be affiliated with a campaign or the candidate’s committee and must be taken July 1 or later. Each candidate has up until the 48 hours preceding the debate to meet the polling requirements.
Additionally, qualifying candidates must sign pledges to the RNC, promising not to participate in what is described as “any non-RNC sanctioned debate.” Further, they must agree to support the party’s nominee, whomever that may be.
It remains unclear if former President Donald Trump, who is leading in virtually every survey, will participate in the debate. A May report indicated chatter of the former president considering skipping the debates due to his advantage, as well as issues with some of the details of the events.
As the New York Times detailed:
“Why would I have Bret Baier” question me, Mr. Trump told an associate, explaining a reason to skip the Fox News debate. Mr. Trump was furious with Mr. Baier, a Fox host, over his coverage of the 2020 election, in which Mr. Baier refuted many of the election-fraud claims made by the Trump team.
In an April Truth Social post, Trump expressed his frustrations.
“I see that everybody is talking about the Republican Debates, but nobody got my approval, or the approval of the Trump Campaign, before announcing them,” he began.
Trump further exclaimed:
When you’re leading by seemingly insurmountable numbers, and you have hostile Networks with angry, TRUMP & MAGA hating anchors asking the “questions,” why subject yourself to being libeled and abused? Also, the Second Debate is being held at the Reagan Library, the Chairman of which is, amazingly, Fred Ryan, Publisher of The Washington Post. NO!
Trump pointed to Fox News’s declining viewership during a recent interview with Baier after the host claimed that “more independent voters watch Fox News than any other TV source.”
“They do watch,” Baier said.
“A lot less, Bret,” Trump replied.
“Those voters usually, they usually make up all the difference in the election,” Baier said.
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