Pressure mounts on Donald Trump as supporters urge him to skip GOP debate, citing his significant lead over competitors.

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In the lead-up to the highly anticipated Republican primary debate in August, current frontrunner Donald Trump faces a chorus of “No’s” from his supporters urging him to consider skipping the event. Despite clearing the hurdles set out by the Republican National Committee, Trump has repeatedly suggested he might forgo the debate, emphasizing his significant lead over the competition as the reason.

The first Republican primary debate is scheduled for August 23 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. According to the Republican National Committee’s rules, candidates must meet specific criteria, including having over 40,000 unique donors with at least 200 donors in 20 different states, in addition to polling over 1% in three qualifying national polls. As of last week, seven Republicans, including Trump, had met these requirements.

At a recent Erie, Pennsylvania rally, Trump turned to his audience for their input on joining the debate. In response to his question, a resounding chorus of “No’s” echoed through the crowd. Trump voiced concerns about sharing the stage with candidates who have polling numbers as low as zero, arguing that facing hostile questions from them would not be beneficial.

Despite the pressure from fellow candidates and party leaders, Trump maintains that his substantial lead over his competitors provides him no incentive to participate. According to FiveThirtyEight’s polling average, Trump is currently leading Ron DeSantis by nearly 40 points, with only DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy garnering over five points.

The push for Trump’s presence on the debate stage has been growing in recent weeks. DeSantis, whose polling numbers have declined lately, called on Trump to “show up and make his case and answer questions like the rest of us.” RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel also weighed in, stating that it would be a “mistake” for Trump to skip the debates. McDaniel and longtime Trump advisor David Bossie even met with Trump at his residence to encourage him to participate.

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Fox News hosts, including Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade, have joined the chorus, making on-air pleas for Trump’s attendance. Former Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway also added her voice, urging Trump to keep the center podium warm and keep everyone in suspense.

As the debate date draws closer, Trump remains noncommittal. He acknowledged that the audience would likely want him there “for entertainment’s sake,” but he emphasized the need to save the country and secure a victory.

In the coming days, all eyes will be on Trump as the decision to join or skip the debate becomes increasingly pivotal. His supporters continue to watch and wait, hoping for a clear indication from the frontrunner himself.