Trump ‘jumping ship’ to go it alone on debate negotiations; Republicans sound off

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Trump’s being Trump — he’s going to go it alone.

As a result of last week’s disappointing Republican presidential debate hosted by CNBC, representatives from a majority of the campaigns met Sunday to hammer out a specific list of debate demands.

The Donald Trump campaign appeared to be on board as late as Monday afternoon.

“The Trump and Carson campaigns have the opportunity to drive this forward in a good way,” Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told The Hill Monday. “These two [candidates] are far and away the front-runners, so that’s a factor in who has leverage.”

However, Trump is now bowing out. After all, who’s a better negotiator than the author of “The Art of the Deal”?

“As we have for the previous three debates, the Trump campaign will continue to negotiate directly with the host network to establish debate criteria that will determine Mr. Trump’s participation,” a Trump campaign spokesman said in an email to The Hill. “This is no different than the process that occurred prior to the FOX, CNN, and CNBC debates.”

The Hill reported:

Trump’s reversal on Monday came as news to the rest of the campaigns that, having wrested control of the process from the Republican National Committee, had gathered the night before in hopes of presenting a united front to the networks.

The Hill reached out to several campaigns in the wake of the breaking news, and all were learning about Trump’s decision for the first time.

 

“He was among one of the first candidates to pull us all together, it seems kind of strange that he’s jumping ship,” a campaign aide told The Hill.

“From what I can tell, he wants to send his own letter on his own letterhead,” Ben Carson’s campaign manager, Barry Bennett said.

Carson was instrumental in getting all the campaigns together to hammer out a list of demands to debate hosts.

The other campaigns are disappointed with the billionaire businessman’s change of heart.

“I think the Trump folks are overestimating their ability to negotiate on their own,” said Brett O’Donnell, a senior adviser to Sen. Lindsey Graham’s presidential bid.

“They want to set the parameters, but if they boycott and every other campaign shows up, that’s a big problem for them,” he said. “I hope they’ll stick with us and we’ll all stick together. We’re all Republicans running in a Republican primary. We want the debates to be good for all our candidates, not just one or two.”

Other candidates who never wanted any part of the deal from the beginning are former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, and Govs. Chris Christie of New Jersey, and John Kasich of Ohio.

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