Almost all of the Republican presidential hopefuls — 14 of the 17 major candidates — are set to take part in tonight’s candidates forum in New Hampshire, The Washington Post reports, but one notably absent contender will be Donald Trump.
The controversial real estate mogul and reality TV star is riding a wave of popularity in the polls, but CNN reports that he opted out of tonight’s event in an apparent beef with the New Hampshire Union Leader, which is co-sponsoring the forum.
Joe McQuaid, the paper’s publisher, said the no-show is a response to an editorial that was critical of Trump.
McQuaid told CNN: “His staff is saying that he was upset with an editorial that appeared in our paper … questioning his courage versus that of John McCain.”
The editorial ran after Trump stirred up controversy last month by ridiculing McCain’s status as a war hero, CNN notes.
Tonight’s Voters First Forum, airs on C-SPAN from 7-9 p.m. ET. The event is being put on by a number of news outlets in the early voting states of New Hampshire, South Carolina and Iowa.
Trump is still set for the official GOP debate scheduled for Thursday night in Cleveland, put on by Fox News.