Here’s How The First Republican Primary Debate Hosted By Fox News Will Go Down


Andrew Harnik/AP Photo

On Tuesday, Fox News provided the Republican presidential candidates with the format for the first primary debate set to take place in Milwaukee on August 23.

The memo included the following information regarding both programming and discussion structure of the highly anticipated event:

  • The debate will begin at 8:00 PM Central Time/9:00 PM Eastern Time.
  • It will run for two hours.
  • The moderators will be Martha MacCallum and Bret Baier.
  • Candidates can expect some questions to involve sound or video, including pre-taped questions submitted by students via Fox partner, the Young Americans Foundation.
  • There will be no opening statements.
  • Candidates will have one minute for answers; 30 seconds for follow-ups; 45 seconds for a closing statement.
  • Fox is anticipating two commercial breaks an hour – running for three to four minutes each.
  • Those breaks will include opportunities for use of nearby restrooms or off-camera hair/makeup touch-ups.
  • No campaign staff will be permitted backstage at any time.

In June, the Republican National Committee laid down a set of criteria that the candidates must meet in order to take part in the debate.

As of early August, eight candidates have reached the benchmarks of status, polling, fundraising, and pledging:

Donald Trump
Ron DeSantis
Mike Pence
Tim Scott
Nikki Haley
Vivek Ramaswamy
Chris Christie
Doug Burgum

Trump remains undecided on whether he will accept his spot on the stage.

In June, he threatened to skip the event claiming on his favorite app Truth Social that Fox News ignored his campaign events.

Trump also referred to Fox as a “hostile network” in an exclusive interview with far-right outlet Breitbart.

CNN and the New York Times reported that Trump met with top Fox executives on Tuesday, Aug. 1, where they attempted to persuade him into participating.

The RNC selected Fox News to host the party’s first primary debate in April after a fleet of TV network executives from CNN, MSNBC, Newsmax, and others made their pitch as to why they should host the event.

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