Republican party candidate Donald Trump’s refusal to appear on tonight’s (Jan. 29) GOP debate has been interpreted as everything from a sign of fear to a bid for control—but maybe it had more to do with cold, hard cash.
According to a statement Fox News provided to the Hollywood Reporter, Trump asked for $5 million to appear at the debate, and walked away when the money wasn’t forthcoming:
[Fox News chairman] Roger Ailes had three brief conversations with Donald Trump today about possibly appearing at the debate — there were not multiple calls placed by Ailes to Trump. In the course of those conversations, we acknowledged his concerns about a satirical observation we made in order to quell the attacks on Megyn Kelly, and prevent her from being smeared any further.
Furthermore, Trump offered to appear at the debate upon the condition that FOX News contribute $5 million to his charities. We explained that was not possible and we could not engage in a quid pro quo, nor could any money change hands for any reason.
Trump has not responded to the accusation. But during the debate, Trump held a rival event that he said had raised $6 million for veterans charities.