GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump announced Wednesday that his campaign will host a fundraising event Thursday night in Des Moines, Iowa, instead of participating in the seventh Republican debate.
The party front-runner said Tuesday evening that he would forgo the Fox News-sponsored debate due to a fight with the network that started with a fight between Trump and debate moderator Megyn Kelly. It ended with a sarcastic comment from the network that made fun of Trump's push to pick and choose the debate moderators.
His announcement appeared to lay to rest comments from his critics, who predicted Trump would eventually decide to attend the debate.
Instead of discussing issues with his GOP colleagues, he'll host an event at Drake University's Sheslow Auditorium two miles southeast of the debate at the Iowa Events Center. Trump's event will raise money for veterans organizations.
The Manhattan billionaire is expected to deliver unscripted remarks at the event similar to how he speaks at his rallies. C-SPAN confirmed Wednesday it will broadcast the event.
Doors for the fundraiser open at 5 p.m. central time, and the formal event begins at 8 p.m. central, meaning the main event will conflict with at least part of the main GOP debate. Preliminary events under Trump's tent will conflict with the undercard debate as well.
Shortly before Trump bowed out of the debate Tuesday, Fox News released the line-ups for both debates. Rand Paul was bumped back up to the 8 p.m. main debate and Jim Gilmore was reintroduced to the undercard segment at 6 p.m.
The Republican debates have seen a steady decline in ratings since the first debate in August, though the number of people tuning in is up compared to figures from 2008 and 2012.