(CNN) - At least two Republican presidential hopefuls are declining to participate in a debate moderated by real estate mogul Donald Trump.
Texas Rep. Ron Paul and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman will both skip the debate, citing concerns about the seriousness of the event.
In a campaign statement released Saturday, Paul's campaign called the debate a distraction from the real issues of the campaign.
"The selection of a reality television personality to host a presidential debate that voters nationwide will be watching is beneath the office of the Presidency and flies in the face of that office's history and dignity," Jesse Benton, Ron Paul's national campaign chairman, said in a statement.
He added, "Mr. Trump's participation as moderator will distract from questions and answers concerning important issues such as the national economy, crushing federal government debt, the role of the federal government, foreign policy, and the like. To be sure, Mr. Trump's participation will contribute to an unwanted circus-like atmosphere."
Benton cited Trump's flirtation with running for president himself as a factor in the decision not to participate in the debate.
"Mr. Trump's selection is also wildly inappropriate because of his record of toying with the serious decision of whether to compete for our nation's highest office, a decision he appeared to make frivolously," Benton said.
Reacting to the Paul campaign's comments, Trump slammed Paul as a non-electable candidate.
"As I said in the past and will reiterate again, Ron Paul has a zero chance of winning either the nomination or the Presidency," Trump said in a statement to CNN. "My poll numbers were substantially higher than any of his poll numbers, at any time, and when I decided not to run, due to the equal time provisions concerning my hit show The Apprentice, I was leading the Republican field."
Trump announced in May he would not seek the nomination.
In his statement, Trump said he was pleased to hear that Paul and Huntsman would be skipping the debate.
"Few people take Ron Paul seriously and many of his views and presentation make him a clown-like candidate," Trump said. "I am glad he and Jon Huntsman, who has inconsequential poll numbers or a chance of winning, will not be attending the debate and wasting the time of the viewers who are trying very hard to make a very important decision."
Huntsman's campaign said Friday the former Utah governor wouldn't be making an appearance at the event.
"We have declined to participate in the 'Presidential Apprentice' Debate with The Donald," Huntsman spokesman Tim Miller said in a statement. "The Republican Party deserves a serious discussion of the issues so voters can choose a leader they trust to defeat President Obama and turn our economy around."
On Friday, the conservative online publication Newsmax announced they were sponsoring the Trump-moderated debate on December 27. It will be held in Des Moines, Iowa, just days before the state holds its first-in-the-nation caucus.
Candidates for the 2012 GOP nomination have been meeting with Trump since this summer. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, businessman Herman Cain and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann have all met with "The Apprentice" host at least once. On Thursday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said he would be meeting with Trump on Monday.
Trump is a no good crook who has caused a lot of investors much grief. Why would anyone want to listen to his B/S?
Donald Trump is so full of himself. He seems to have plenty of money but is defensive when others suggest he doesn't have as much as he claims. Why the insecurity and need to be in the spotlight? Most truly successful men have no need to beg for all the attention and he is even willing to buy it if he has too.
THIS SAYS IT ALL; .........The selection of a reality television personality to host a presidential debate that voters nationwide will be watching is beneath the office of the Presidency and flies in the face of that office's history and dignity," RON PAUL, VIA HIS SPOKESPERSON IS ABSOLUTELY CORRECT and I hope that all of the remaining candidates have enough gumption to also say no. This pimp also says he is considering running for president in May when his TV contract is up and he is being allowed to moderate a debate?!!! . Why in the hell would he be hosting/moderating a presidential debate? Have these kissy/kissy candidates lost their minds?!!!! UNBELIEVABLE and it should not be allowed. I won't vote for Ron Paul but this just shows that the man does have integrity. Kudos to you, Congressman Paul.
ron paul proves again that he is intelligent and makes good decisions. ron paul is theonly person that represents me. make freedom a reality.. the power of freedom is our only hope. ron paul can unders and support the primary value of freedom and liberty.
alex208 writes, "Trump is calling Ron Paul a clown...LOL" Remember when he was roasted at that National Press Clubs dinner by Seth from SNL and Obama? He was so enraged and the next day, he came out with a petty insulting remark about Seth having a speech impediment. That is this bully's way. He fights back against anyone who disagrees with him by insulting them with some nasty personal remark about that person. Trump should concentrate on finding his lost investigators that he sent to Hawaiia several months ago to gather "dirt" on Obama and they have never been heard from again. Donald Trump refuses to discuss them. What a liar, a bully and a mean-spirited clown this man is. Very vicious person.
How many times has Trump and/or his companies claimed bankruptcy? It was three the last time I looked it up so Donald isn't even qualified to moderate any debate. The man personifies all that is wrong with this country....I am glad Ron Paul and Huntsman did the right thing and don't give any more attention to the egomaniac narcissist that is Donald Trump.
Trump is such a clown. He just loves the sound of his own voice and revels in his completely misplaced sense of importance. He talks and seems convinced of his brilliance and I just hear a buffoon.
People, people, people, stop getting all upset over these people that are going on a show moderated by Donald Trump. Don't you see? These losers are auditioning for the Biggest Loser Show! What's that you say? Oh, okay, sorry folks, I meant they are audtioning to be contestants on that Apprentice show Trump has. What's wrong with that!!!
Good for Ron Paul. Again, he has shown he has the intelligence to decipher between things where our time and energy should and should not, in this case, be spent.
There goes d.t. joining the cirlce of unqualifed plictician which is not a politican but a "wanta bee", Please have a back seet d.t. and join the cirlceof wanta bee clowns.
Unfortunately, for Mr. Trump he is viewed as the clown. The very fact that Trump is considered a business guru is sad. He was born into it.
Alex- Exactly! Trump calls Paul a clown when his A.C. properties were filing for bankruptcy ~ 2009. A casino! Where people literally go to hand you money and you f****d that up...lol. Like Ron Paul or not, he has a point. He's also the only one I know who gives portions of his salary every year back to the treasury, and would take less then $40k salary as President. At least he seems to be trying like hell to standup for the people and get government under control. No more of this rampant spending and destroying civil liberties....
, Bow to the Donald , do what he says because he has more money. You don't ask him ,he tells you.
I think this is great news the trump is going to show the world how big of a fool they are to vote for either one of these fools on the stage because he is a sheep in wolf clothing. He want the taxes raised to just like a lot of millionaires he is losing money to but want speeck out.
Thanks Ron and Jon for protecting the honor and dignity of the Oval Office.
With Best Regards,
The Republican party is a joke a bad joke. Turn the page America and kick these clowns out of Congress next November.
I guess Snooki turned down their offer to be a moderator so they went with Trump instead.
I've watched every debate Paul and Huntsman are the only ones with class and with Paul not being there I have no reason to watch.
Once again I have to hand it to Ron Paul for being a class act
1 He never got into the mix about Cain's personal life...just blasted him on the issues
2 He only talks about Newt when he is disagreeing about policy
3 He rarely mentions Romney being a tool of the bankers That comes later.
4 He tells Don Trump that he has no place in a debate about policy and does not speak for republicans
The more I hear of Dr Paul the more I like
Everyone boycott watching that debate and Mr. Trump will get the hint.
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Could someone please tackle that man and shave his head? Then ban him from television.
Your vision of how the country should work is insane. A partnership between business and labor with negotiated responsibilities and fair wages is the way to have a prosperous and functioning country with general well being for all. Of the People, for the People. Not "Of the People, for a few business people".
Good for Paul and Huntsman!!
So Trump says he didnt run for president because of the equal time provisions of his tv show!! He chose his tv show over running for president and serving his country? If he actually thought he would be the best candidate and could be of great service to his country, why wouldnt he do it? Instead, he cares more about a tv show? He is a joke and should never be taken serious when it comes to politics. He calls Paul a "clown-like candidate"?? Look in the mirror, Donald!! Trump is the very definition of a clown, in every aspect– right down to that ridiculous excuse for hair. Seriously, Donald, what sort of a delusional brain tells you that hair looks good? Evidently there are at least two things that Trumps money cant buy– a decent haircut and class.
Am supriced Romny wants to participate in this joke. Didn't Trump disparage Mitt's business experience when he said Mitt is small business manager.
hahaha it seems donald has his feelings hurt.. sounds like he also takes a good helping of faux news aswell, judging by the garbage hes parroting.