Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee (RNC), said Sunday she is “holding out hope” that former President Trump will join the GOP debate stage this week, after he reportedly decided to skip it following weeks of speculation.

“I’m still holding out hope that [former] President Trump will come,” McDaniel said in an interview on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures.” “I think it’s so important that the American people hear from all the candidates.” 

Trump has made the decision to not attend the first GOP primary debate Wednesday in Milwaukee and will instead sit for an interview with former Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson, according to a report from The New York Times. Trump indicated multiple times in recent weeks that he may not attend the debate, citing his strong lead in the GOP primary polls as a primary reason. 

The Times also reported that McDaniel herself has urged Trump to attend the debate, but so far Trump has not indicated he will join the stage with other GOP candidates.

Multiple Republican presidential candidates, including former Vice President Mike Pence, have urged Trump to attend the debate. In an interview with ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, Pence said he hopes Trump gets on the debate stage and that “it’s not over until it’s over,” suggesting Trump may still show up.

McDaniel pointed to her expectations for the upcoming debate and said the stage will be a chance “to tout what Republicans can do versus the failure of Joe Biden.” 

“This Bideneconomics is costing American families, and they are hurting, not just with that, with fentanyl, with kids who still have deficits in school, with crime surging,” McDaniel said. “They are looking for a solution. And this debate stage is going to give them that first glimpse of hope for 2024.” 

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