WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Former US President Donald Trump announced on Sunday that he will boycott the forthcoming Republican primary debates, citing his enormous lead in surveys as proof that he is already well-known and liked by Americans ahead of the 2024 race.

Trump has been indicating for months that he will likely skip Wednesday night’s debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, claiming that it makes no sense to give his Republican opponents an opportunity to criticize him given his big lead in national surveys.

On Sunday, a CBS survey found him to be the favorite choice of 62% of Republican voters, with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis behind at 16%. All other contenders in the primary round received less than 10% of the vote.

“The public knows who I am and what a successful presidency I had,” Trump stated on his Truth Social social media app. “As a result, I will not participate in the debates.”

The Trump team did not immediately react to a query about whether the former president meant he would not participate in any Republican debates.

According to the New York Times, Trump sat for a filmed interview with former Fox News personality Tucker Carlson, which was scheduled to be released online on Wednesday. It was unclear where the Carlson interview will be posted.

Because Trump will not be present at this week’s debate, DeSantis may become the target of criticism from other candidates seeking to position themselves as the chief opposition to the former president. The Republican nominee will face Democratic Vice President Joe Biden in the November 2024 election.

DeSantis campaign spokesperson Andrew Romeo said the Florida governor was looking forward to sharing his views for a prospective presidential run in Milwaukee.

“No one, including Donald Trump, is entitled to this nomination.” “You have to show up and earn it,” Romeo stated on X, previously Twitter.

According to the most recent Reuters/Ipsos survey, Trump received 47% of the Republican support nationwide, with DeSantis slipping six percentage points from July to 13%. None of the other contenders scheduled to participate in the debate have broken into the single digits.

Trump has until Friday to voluntarily surrender in Fulton County, Georgia, after being accused in a fourth felony indictment last week for an alleged conspiracy to recoup his 2020 election defeat to Biden.