by Brett Rowland
The moderators for the second Republican presidential primary debate have been set, but the candidate leading in the polls has yet to show any interest in attending.
Fox News announced Wednesday that Stuart Varney, Dana Perino and UNIVISION’s Ilia Calderón will co-moderate the debate from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET on Sept. 27 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. Varney, one of Fox Business News’s original anchors, is the host of “Varney & Co.” Perino co-anchors “America’s Newsroom” and serves as co-host of “The Five.” She is also a former White House press secretary under George W. Bush. Calderón is co-anchor of UNIVISION’s weekday evening newscast “NOTICIERO UNIVISION” and its newsmagazine “AQUÍ Y AHORA.” She co-moderated the final debate between Presidential candidates Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders in March 2020.
Former President Donald Trump, who is leading the polls by a wide margin, skipped the first debate on Aug. 23 in Milwaukee. Instead, Trump participated in a pre-recorded interview with ousted Fox News host Tucker Carlson that aired at the same time as the first debate. Trump previously confirmed media reports that he would pass on “the debates.”
Trump holds a big lead over the rest of the candidates. He frequently posts poll results on his social media platform that show him ahead of the rest of the Republican pack.
A Center Square Voters’ Voice Poll, conducted in conjunction with Noble Predictive Insights, found that 53% of surveyed Republicans picked Trump, followed by 18% naming Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Former Vice President Mike Pence and entrepreneur and author Vivek Ramaswamy came in at third and fourth place with 7% and 6% support, respectively. The poll was conducted before the first debate.
On Wednesday, Trump called President Joe Biden a “Manchurian Candidate.” Author Richard Condon’s 1959 novel “The Manchurian Candidate,” which has twice been adapted to feature films, is about the son of a prominent U.S. political family who is brainwashed into being an assassin. Trump also said “Biden’s only campaign strategy is Indicting me.”
Trump faces 91 charges across four indictments in Florida, New York, Georgia and Washington, D.C.
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Brett Rowland is an award-winning journalist who has worked as an editor and reporter in newsrooms in Illinois and Wisconsin. He is an investigative reporter for The Center Square.
Photo “Dana Perino” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0. Photo “Ilia Calderon” by Ilia Calderon. Photo “Stuart Varney” by Stuart Varney. Background Photo “RNC Debate Stage” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 3.0.