by Sharon Rondeau
Coverage began at 9:00 p.m. ET, the same time at which the Republican debate is scheduled to begin, hosted by Fox News and Google.
Trump’s event is being held by Drake University and will raise money for veterans’ causes.
In their introductory comments, hosts Steve Malzberg and J.D. Hayworth recapped Trump’s appearance on Bill O’Reilly’s show on Wednesday evening which reportedly garnered four million viewers. Hayworth told Malzberg that Trump told O’Reilly “unapologetically” that he would not change his mind about boycotting the debate.
Trump had told O’Reilly that he objected to Megyn Kelly’s co-moderation of Thursday night’s debate in light of questions she posed to him personally at the first debate on August 6.
O’Reilly did not defend Kelly, as many other Fox News personalities have over the last two days, but according to Hayworth, was “trying…to get Donald Trump to the debate.”
Hayworth observed that Kelly has enjoyed “meteoric” success in her career at Fox but that the “confrontation” between Trump and Kelly has produced a “dynamic” that has “worked very well for him.”
At approximately 9:18 p.m., Trump appeared on the stage decorated with American flags and told his audience, “We have to stand up for ourselves as people and for our country.”
At 9:21 p.m., Trump said that “almost $6 million” has already been raised for veterans’ charities, with Trump announcing some of the largest donors. “Donald Trump…gave $1 million,” he announced.
Donations can be made here.
At 9:35 p.m., Trump called presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee to the stage.