GOP presidential debate in SLC canceled

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Monday's GOP presidential debate scheduled here in Utah has been canceled, FOX 13 News has confirmed.

The decision to cancel the debate followed Donald Trump's announcement on "FOX & Friends" that he would not be appearing. Instead, he said he would be appearing at a pro-Israel group's event on Monday night. Trump dropping out led John Kasich to indicate he would not be appearing at Monday's debate.

"We had hoped to contrast Governor Kasich's positive inclusive approach to problem solving with Trump's campaign of division," said Kasich chief strategist John Weaver in an emailed statement to FOX 13. "If he changes his mind, we will be there."

Following phone conferences between FOX News Channel and the Republican National Committee, the event was canceled, representatives for the Salt Palace confirmed. Utah Republican Party officials told FOX 13 it was Kasich's decision to back out of Monday's debate that killed it. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz would have been the only candidate on stage.

"We're sorry it's not happening," said Bruce Hough, the Republican National Committeeman for Utah.

The Utah GOP said it received more than 50,000 ticket requests to attend Monday's debate.

"We thank those who have expressed interest in attending the debate and are saddened by the news however, we are extremely pleased that Utah was chosen as a debate location. Utah can no longer be considered a flyover state as recent events have proven," Utah GOP Chairman James Evans said in an email. "We will move forward and look ahead to Caucus on March 22, 2016."

Fox News Channel also issued a statement regarding the cancellation:

"On Feb. 20, the Republican National Committee announced that a GOP presidential primary debate would be held on March 21 in Salt Lake City. They offered that debate to Fox News Channel to host, provided there were enough candidates actively campaigning. This morning, Donald Trump announced he would not be participating in the debate. Shortly afterward, John Kasich's campaign announced that without Trump at the debate, Kasich would not participate. Ted Cruz has expressed a willingness to debate Trump or Kasich -- or both. But obviously, there needs to be more than one participant. So the Salt Lake City debate is cancelled."

Utah Lt. Governor Spencer Cox said Trump wasn't doing well in polling here, and questioned if that was why he decided not to show up.

"This is not friendly turf for him and hopefully he'll do worse now," Cox said in an interview Wednesday with FOX 13. "I think Trump finishing a distant third here in the state would be the exact message to send -- Utah being the designated driver for Republicans in the country."

The Lt. Governor, who supported Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, said he won't back Trump, even if he were the eventual GOP nominee.

"I think he's disingenuous. I think he's dangerous. I think he represents the worst of what our great country stands for," Cox said.

Asked who he would vote for, Cox said he might write in someone.

"I won't vote for Hillary, but I won't vote for Trump, either," he said.


  • joyce

    There have been enough debates Trump is the only one that is not and outsider Ted is a insider don’t want him if gets in it will be the same he didn’t do anything while he was in we want him out.

    • Brainwashed Sheeple

      @Joyce… ok Joyce, keep regurgitating what Trump says. Trump dropped out because he isn’t smart enough to debate Cruz. Now that all eyes would be on Trump and Cruz, Trump is afraid that Cruz will bring out Trump’s dirty lies and expose him for the democratic fraud that he is.

    • Brainwashed Sheeple

      Also, to say that Cruz is an insider is like saying Ronald Reagan is the same as Obama. You obviously have never done a single bit of research on Cruz. He has done EVERYTHING he said he would do to fight for the American people in the senate; and he has done so virtually alone. That’s why Texas overwhelmingly supported and supports Ted Cruz. Countless have gone on record saying that Cruz kept every word he promised to them. Ted Cruz IS the real deal.

  • Bill Baxter

    It be foolish for Donald to attend another debate in Salt Lake City.. This is a conservative establishment stronghold where he would only be baited. The public is tired of these spectacles,and they have become a bread and circus that is beginning to show a very tawdry side of the GOP.
    Enough is enough

  • Mike

    Trump has nothing to prove, he has already stated his intentions (Wall/Trade/Immigration/Military). Whether you like him or not, another debate only rehashes the same info. I see no one cares that Kasich is only remaining in the race to win the nomination by trick (establishment/government). Other than Ohio he is non existent. I will await the response that I am racist and stupid. I do have two questions since I am so dumb. 1) How is it that so many accept the Muslim religion? Women are second class citizens in that religion, women don’t have the same rights in sharia law courts, and women can be beaten/killed for transgressions that many reading this post would have been killed for long ago. Also, not liking the Muslim religion is not racist, its a religion not a person. 2) Why does anyone’s difference of opinion result to insults? I thought that was the reason people dont like Trump. Guess he represents more of us than people think. PS, posting people are stupid for voting for any candidate will not change their vote, just saying..

    • Brainwashed Sheeple

      Yep, another debate definitely would rehash the same things. Trump would undoubtedly say the same things over and over again, like he does in every debate… “build a wall”, “ISIS is attacking”, “we don’t win on trade”. Trump is the dumbest candidate I have ever seen run for president. Not only does his record prove that he supports democratic policies, but it also shows that Trump makes more money under a democratic run government. In fact, Trump himself said that he does. Trump is a liar and a fraud. He IS a democrat at heart. Even if he were to win the nomination, he can’t beat Hillary. He doesn’t have the intellectual capacity to debate her. TED CRUZ does. He is the real deal.

  • Katherine Teissere

    What we need is a good Lincoln Douglas debate between Cruz and Trump..
    Thank you Lt. Governor Cox. I may not be the only one who will write in Cruz should the election be between Trump and Hillary

  • christine salerno

    Thank God, there have been enough debates already, the only reason for another debate is for the network to make tons of $$ and for the moderators to get more face time. Enough is enough!!

    • Brainwashed Sheeple

      Yeah, to you, a Trump supporter, you could care less about facts that reveal the truth about your God. Trump is a liar and a fraud. To all of you Trump Sheep… Just keep listening to what Trump tells you all. Trump has supported more Democrats in his lifetime than Republicans. Trump even said himself on TV, that he has no idea “why” he calls himself a republican, because he has more democratic views. Trump has changed his party 4 times in less than 10 years. Trump supported Universal Healthcare back in 2000, and supported abortion. Trump still even now supports Tax Payer Funding of Planned Parenthood. Trump has given to more democrats over the past 10 years, and even supported and still supports mostly democratic policies. Wow, Trump’s supporters really are morons. Sheep that don’t even care to do research on what this man truly stands for. There is a reason why Donald Trump himself said that he could stand in the street on 5th avenue and shoot someone, and still not lose any voters. In essence, he is literally saying that his voters are that gullible and stupid.

      I was a Trump supporter at the beginning of the race, until I took my head out of the sand and opened my eyes to his record. Trump is a liar and a fraud, and if people weren’t such “fanboys”, they might see through his lies. He is FAR from conservative. TED CRUZ, 2016!!!

      • Eric F

        Quote: “Trump supported Universal Healthcare back in 2000, and supported abortion. Trump still even now supports Tax Payer Funding of Planned Parenthood.”

        I’m not a Trump supporter but your comment is one of the reasons he has so many. Voters are tired of candidates who mainstream issues along party lines and then don’t get stuff done in office because they don’t want to lose the voters. Why can’t a candidate run who openly argues against some Republican ideals, especially when it seems not to alienate as much of the party as they think?

  • Lydia Serena Towery

    Cox is an idiot… If he does not vote for the front runner he will effectively be viting for Hillary…. What a bunch of hypocrites some Mormons are…. Self righteous holier than thou…. Remember all your criticism of the Baptists for refusing to show up for Romney… We got 8 Years of hell… Well in effect you are doing the same thing…. Why not follow the advice of the savior and pray for Mr Trump…and humble yourselves… ❤️🙏

  • Dave Bourgeois

    As a conservative who suffered through the final non action years of G W and all the devastation Obama has caused, it’s hard for me to look at anyone but a schrewd decision maker. The party better not continue trying to stop this landslide movement

  • kpm nair (@kpm1119)

    IT is quite strange that Cruz of the dirty tricks fame(what he did to Carson, remember?); what he tried to Rubio, remember? Then he goes on lying, says whatever lies he wants say; just to win votes. Holds the Bible but tell lies at the same time. Such a hypocrite, a fraud, slimy and sneaky character is getting the Utah people’s votes? Strange indeed. God Save America.

    • Brainwashed Sheeple

      Keep regurgitating what the media feeds you. Cruz never lied. He never used “dirty tricks” as the MEDIA says. Cruz’s campaign simply forwarded CNN stories. That’s it. It’s already been proven that his campaign didn’t conjure up anything evil. Trump has been lying and deceiving people this entire race. And the majority of it has been caught on video, and yet his occult followers ignore the video that so loudly slaps everyone else in the face

  • Brainwashed Sheeple

    Plain and simple, Trump dropped out because he is afraid to debate Ted Cruz. Kasich as well. They both don’t have the intellectual capacity to debate Cruz. Cruz would “own” them. Another reason Trump dropped out, is because Trump is tired of saying, “make American great again”, “ISIS is attacking”, “build a wall”….. which is pretty much his entire speech at every debate.

  • Mark

    They don’t like Trump for one reason, and one reason only, they can’t buy him, they can’t control him and so they won’t profit from him, so they attempt to marginalize him…math, it’s powerful: 64/12/1

  • Robert Alban

    Let’s think, Bill is a disgrace, Voting for Kasich is like throwing your vote away, Cruz only has three years experience in politics; not even a Bachelor’s Degree in Life, Clinton will sell America piece by piece to the highest bidder while getting Bill into the U.N., and Bernie, I love a socialist only it just will not happen, although we do need to move to the middle. The only Sane Choice for America is the one guy the 1% have to get and that’s Trump, if the 1% are trying to destroy Trump then he must be for the 99% and that’s you and me… Don’t Be A Chump, Vote for Trump!

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