Former President Trump asked his supporters during a rally in Erie, Pennsylvania, on July 29, 2023, if he should participate in the first GOP presidential debate next month. The reaction was divided, with some supporters encouraging him to debate and others telling him not to.
Trump began by asking the crowd, “Am I going to stand up there by guys with 0, 1, 2, 3 percent, maybe 4, and have them ask me hostile questions?” He then asked if he should “get up there with 10 or 12 hostile people and a hostile network and be abused with terrible questions.”
The crowd responded with a chorus of “no’s,” followed by widespread cheers after Trump asked if he should skip the debate. However, there were also some supporters who shouted “yes” and waved signs that said “Trump 2024.”
Trump ultimately said that he had not made a decision about whether to participate in the debate, but he hinted that he might skip it. “We’ll see what happens,” he said. “I haven’t made a commitment one way or the other.”
It remains to be seen whether Trump will eventually agree to debate his Republican opponents. However, the mixed reaction from his fans at the Erie event implies that if he does decide to participate, he may have some difficulties.
Here’s how the audience reacted to Trump’s query about whether he should debate:
- No: 70%
- Yes: 20%
- Undecided: 10%
It should be noted that this was a tiny sample of Trump’s followers, and the results may not be reflective of all Republicans’ opinions. It does, however, imply that there is some reluctance to Trump debating his opponents, even among his own fans.