MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa -- Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump said he will 'definitely not' participate in the Fox News debate scheduled for Thursday night in Des Moines, Iowa, an unexpected twist just days before voters here launch the election process.
"I probably won't be doing the debate. I'm going to have something else in Iowa," Trump said during a press conference in a high school workout room this afternoon. "I'm going to have something else in Iowa."
After the press conference, Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski confirmed to The Washington Post that Trump will "definitely not" participate in the debate.
"He's definitely not participating in the Fox News debate," Lewandowski said. "His word is his bond."
Trump has made such threats before, but he said that Fox News Channel, which is hosting the debate, has gone too far by issuing press statements today that he said kicked his concern about Megyn Kelly, one of the debate co-moderators.
"They're dealing with someone who's a little bit different. They can't do with me like they do with everybody else," Trump said.
When Trump saw the press release from Fox, "I said, 'Bye bye,'" he said.
He said he would remain in Iowa as planned and instead would host an event in the state to raise money for military veterans and service members wounded in war.
Although Trump said there had been too many Republican debates, Lewandowki said the decision applied only to the Fox News debate and that Trump would be open to participating in future debates.
Earlier today, Fox News Channel President Roger Ailes told The Post that "Megyn Kelly is an excellent journalist, and the entire network stands behind her. She will absolutely be on the debate stage on Thursday night."
Later, the network poked fun at Trump in a satirical statement: "We learned from a secret back channel that the Ayatollah and Putin both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they meet with him if he becomes president. A nefarious source tells us that Trump has his own secret plan to replace the Cabinet with his Twitter followers to see if he should even go to those meetings."
Trump's feud with Kelly began during the first debate in August, when she questioned him about disparaging remarks he has made about women with her opening question.