The first Republican debate is just days away, set for Thursday in Cleveland. For the first time ever, two debates will occur — one primary debate featuring the top ten GOP candidates in the polls and one secondary debate featuring the remaining candidates earlier in the evening. It's anyone's guess who will make the prime-time debate but one thing is certain: a certain real estate mogul will be front and center. Just what is Donald Trump's debate strategy for his first major event?
It appears he's doing little to prepare, though he has continued to hit the political talk show circuit, speaking with Chuck Todd on NBC's Meet The Press on Sunday, as well as ABC's This Week the very same day. Trump is known for his verbal battles and hyperbolic statements, so it comes as a shock that he claims he will be less focused on sparring with his fellow candidates come Thursday. Instead, the GOP front-runner says he's more focused on simply being himself sidestepping battles with his fellow candidates in favor of talking about the issues. Trump said as much on a phone interview with Meet The Press:
I don't want to be unreal. I want to be me. I have to be me. We have enough of that in Washington with pollsters telling everybody what to say. ... I think that frankly I'd like to discuss the issues. I'm not looking to take anybody out or be nasty to anybody.
He further elaborated on those statements during his appearance on ABC's This Week. Trump played on the fact that hasn't debated nor does he have any prior political experience:
I'm not a debater. These politicians; I always say, they're all talk, no action. They debate all the time. They go out and they debate every night. I don't debate. I build: I've created tremendous jobs. I've built a great company. I do a lot of things. And maybe my whole life is a debate, in a way. But the fact is I'm not a debater and they are.
Likewise, Trump is attempting to use criticism from his fellow candidates to his benefit. He claims that both Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush have insinuated that his tone is too harsh, yet the real estate mogul says it's his brashness that will propel him to the top:
The tone has to be tougher. If we're going to stop ISIS, if we're going to clean up the border and stop what's happening at the border which is a disaster ... We need a tougher tone. We can't have that tone [of politicians] anymore. We need a strong tone and we need tremendous enthusiasm.
Many Republican voters appear to agree with Trump's statements. According to a Quinnipiac University poll, he continues to lead the pack with 20 percent of GOP voters polled picking Trump.
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