ABC News and CNN’s New Hampshire Primary Debates Cancelled — Here’s Why

ABC News’ New Hampshire primary debate has been cancelled, after former President Donald Trump and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley both declined invitations to participate in the Jan. 18 event.

“Our intent was to host a debate coming out of the Iowa caucuses, but we always knew that would be contingent on the candidates and the outcome of the race,” an ABC News spokeperson tells TVLine. “As a result, while our robust election coverage will continue, ABC News and WMUR-TV will not be moving forward with Thursday’s Republican presidential primary debate in New Hampshire.”

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A second New Hampshire debate was previously announced by CNN, and scheduled to air Sunday, Jan. 21 — two days out from the state’s Jan. 23 primary. That debate has also been cancelled.

“CNN is no longer moving forward with a New Hampshire Republican Presidential Primary Debate, as only one qualifying candidate accepted our invitation to take the stage,” a spokesperson for the network tells TVLine. “We will continue to pursue other opportunities as the campaign season progresses through 2024, including candidate Town Halls.”

The news network’s next Town Hall is set with Haley for Thursday, Jan. 18, and will be moderated by Jake Tapper. The event airs live at 9/8c from New England College in Henniker, N.H.

Following the Iowa Caucus, where Trump won by a record-setting, 30-point margin, third-place finisher Haley declared that she would no longer debate fellow Republican hopeful (and current Florida governor) Ron DeSantis, who finished in second place.

“We’ve had five great debates in this campaign. Unfortunately, Donald Trump has ducked all of them,” Haley said Tuesday. “He has nowhere left to hide. The next debate I do will either [be] with Donald Trump or with Joe Biden. I look forward to it.”

Trump was never expected to RSVP “yes” for the ABC debate. “The public knows who I am & what a successful Presidency I had,” he previously declared on Truth Social, ahead of the first debate in August. “I WILL THEREFORE NOT BE DOING THE DEBATES!”

DeSantis, meanwhile, dinged both Trump and Haley for their decision not to participate. “I won’t snub New Hampshire voters like both Nikki Haley and Donald Trump, and plan to honor my commitments,” he said on X. “I look forward to debating two empty podiums in the Granite State this week.”

Oh, what a sight that would have been….

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