US Election 2024: Donald Trump is 'afraid' of Republican debate attacks

Donald Trump is expected to face a barrage of attacks from his political rivals during Wednesday's first Republican primate debate.

The former US president, who is leading the field by 34 points according to the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll, has opted to be interviewed by conservative commentator Tucker Carlson instead.

His decision not to join the debate has been attacked by his competitors.

Speaking to TalkTV's Rosanna Lockwood, US political columnist John LeBoutillier said: “I think Trump is afraid of eight or nine other candidates standing there for two hours hitting on him the whole night and attacking him.

“I think his lawyers are also begging him to shut up and not go public on these debates and press conferences.”

Mr LeBouttllier added that while Trump’s dominance in some US States is not assured, there is no obvious challenger for disenchanted Republican voters to support.

He remarked: “Roughly 50% in Iowa are open to voting for a different candidate but they're divided among these other 10 or 11 people.

“If you were advising these candidates on Wednesday night, someone needs to come up with something brand new and different like what Trump did in 2015. Be different, and shockingly so”.

Republican Podcast host Ben Ferguson suggested Trump had more to gain and less to lose from speaking to Carlson instead of taking part in Wednesday's televised debate.

He said: “Trump's doing a huge interview at the exact same time as the debates and what I'm going to predict is that the interview gets more views than the number of people that watch the Republican debates.

“More people care about what Trump says than any of these people on stage.

“I don't believe the lawyers had anything to do with the decision. If you are so far ahead of everyone else in the polls, there's nothing good that comes from debating.

"There's no reason to do that - to waste your time, or to take that risk.”

He added that many of the candidates expect to lose and are running in the race simply to boost their profiles ahead of Trump’s selection of a running mate.