"Most likely I would not be doing the debate. Let's see how much money Fox is making without me,'' Trump told reporters in Iowa.

Trump made the remarks at a news conference soon after Fox announced the lineup for its GOP debate tomorrow -- the last one before the crucial Iowa Caucus on February 1. He also accused Fox News of 'playing games'.

Trump, 69, who is leading all polls, would have taken the centre stage during the debate. In his absence this would be taken up by his distant rival Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

Later, Trump's campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told reporters, "He will not be participating in the Fox News debate on Thursday" and that "it's not under negotiation".

Trump's campaign manager said that it is pretty 'irrevocable' that he will skip the event, which takes place days before the crucial Iowa Caucus.

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