By Randy DeSoto
Richard Drew/Associated Press
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Blaze TV announced Monday that former Fox News host Tucker Carlson will be hosting the first Republican presidential forum of the 2024 primary season.
The event will take place at the Family Leadership Summit in Des Moines, Iowa, later this month.
“Blaze Media is teaming up with THE FAMiLY LEADER to bring you the first presidential forum of the 2024 Republican Primary season, hosted by Tucker Carlson,” Blaze TV tweeted.
“We’ll be live streaming this event all day Friday, July 14th on BlazeTV and the BlazeTV YouTube channel,” the news outlet added.
Blaze indicated that the GOP candidates who are participating include Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, U.S. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, and former Vice President Mike Pence.
Former President Donald Trump currently leads the field of Republican candidates by over 30 percentage points, according to the RealClear Politics average of polls.
Trump has 53 percent support; while DeSantis garners 20.9 percent; Pence, 6.1 percent; Haley, 3.6 percent; Scott 3.3 percent; and Ramaswamy 2.4 percent.
The first official debate on the Republican National Committee’s schedule is on August 23 in Milwaukee.
The event will air on Fox News Channel and stream live on Rumble, which is cohosting the event along with the RNC, Fox and the Young America’s Foundation.
Fox News reported that Trump had indicated both publicly and privately that he may skip the Milwaukee debate, due in part to his large lead over the rest of the field, but aides say a final decision has not been made.
Trump’s stand-out performance at the first Republican presidential debate in August 2015 fueled his successful bid to become the 2016 GOP nominee.
The Hill reported candidates must meet certain criteria to qualify to appear at the Fox debate, including showing with at least 1 percent support in polling, having 40,000 unique donors — with at least 200 unique donors from 20 or more states and territories — and signing a loyalty pledge to support the eventual Republican Party nominee.
Candidates saying they have met that threshold besides Trump include DeSantis, Pence, Haley, and Scott.
Carlson’s hosting of the candidate forum on Blaze TV will arguably be his highest-profile appearance since Fox News fired him in April.
Fox did not offer a reason why, but The Los Angeles Times reported, based on unnamed sources, that the decision to fire Carlson came right from Fox Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch.
Part of the reason reportedly was that Murdoch was not pleased with Carlson’s coverage of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol incursion, specifically when he questioned what role federal law enforcement agencies may have played that day.
The move came the same week Fox agreed to pay Dominion Voting Systems $787.5 million in a defamation suit claiming that the news outlet’s coverage regarding the use of its voting machines in the 2020 election hurt the company’s reputation in the industry.
Both Dominion and Fox have denied Carlson’s removal was part of the settlement agreement.
In May, Carlson announced he would be hosting an online program on Twitter.
His shows have garnered millions of views each since first airing last month.