If you don't want to watch the Republican presidential debate Thursday night, you have options. You can tune in to "American Idol," an NBA game or GOP front-runner Donald Trump's competing event. Trump is set to host a special rally for veterans at 9 p.m. EST at Drake University in Des Moines, continuing into the debate that he is boycotting.
Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told Politico he'd invited multiple TV networks to live-stream the Thursday rally, which he organized after publicly criticizing Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly. Trump claimed Kelly asked him unfair questions at the first Republican primary debate last August.
"They can’t toy with me like they toy with everybody else," the Washington Post reported Trump said. "Let them have the debate. Let’s see how they do with the ratings.”
If you're more interested in Trump's rally, called a "special event for veterans," than the debate among Trump's rival White House hopefuls, you can get alerted when the candidate goes live here. CBS will carry the rally here, or you can catch an unofficial stream below:
Trump continued to lead the crowded field of GOP presidential hopefuls Thursday with about 37.4 percent of the vote. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was in second place at 15.5 percent, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio trailed them in third place, according to the HuffPost Pollster. But his rivals could benefit from Trump's absence.
"The other candidates don't have to worry about going after Trump because they won't get smashed with a comeback," University of Iowa political science professor Tim Hagle told CNN.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, both of whom were scheduled to participate in the undercard debate of lower-polling candidates, announced Thursday they planned to stop by the rally afterward.