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Donald Trump will not participate in latest GOP debate, campaign manager says

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign stop at Farmington High School, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, in Farmington, N.H. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

PHOENIX — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump will not be participating in Thursday’s GOP debate, according to his campaign manager.

Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said he will not be participating in the Fox News debate on Thursday.

Instead, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz; Florida Sen. Marco Rubio; neurosurgeon Ben Carson; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul will be taking part in the prime-time debate.

Trump stated at a news conference on Tuesday that he would most likely not show up, but Lewandowski officially confirmed it during a news conference in Marshalltown, Iowa, on Tuesday evening.

Trump, who called his decision “pretty close to irrevocable” in the press conference, said he would host an Iowa event at the same time as the debate to raise money for Wounded Warriors.

“With me, they’re dealing with somebody that’s a little bit different,” Trump said in the press conference. “They can’t toy with me like they toy with everybody else. Let them have their debate and let’s see how they do with the ratings.”

In a statement, Trump criticized Fox News for “playing games” and for including anchor Megyn Kelly as a debate moderator. He said Kelly is a third-rate reporter who is bad at her job and shouldn’t be allowed to participate.

“Let them have their debate,” Trump said in the press conference. “I’m going to raise money during that period of time for the wounded warriors and for the vets. Let Fox play its games. I don’t think Iowa’s gonna care.”

The New York real estate mogul’s presence has helped produce massive ratings in the previous six Republican presidential debates.

The debate is the last before Monday’s caucuses in Iowa.

On Tuesday, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio reportedly stated he would endorse Donald Trump in his run for the White House during an appearance in Iowa this week.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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