(CNN) - Donald Trump's Republican presidential debate took another hit Wednesday when White House hopeful Mitt Romney said he wouldn't participate in the event.
Romney is now the third candidate to decline Trump's invitation to participate in the event. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and Texas Rep. Ron Paul both said earlier this week they were skipping the debate, questioning Trump's seriousness as a political moderator.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich have all said they'll be on the stage at the debate, which is slated for Dec. 27. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann has yet to say whether or not she'll participate.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday in Arizona, Romney said the upcoming debate schedule was so crowded he had to say no to Trump.
"We've had requests for quite a few debates, we decided on two in December. The 10th and 15th and we're not adding any others in December," Romney said. "We'll look at January's request. I think we have ten requests for January debates. We'll probably do two or maybe three in January."
The former Massachusetts governor said he had spoken with the reality show host and businessman Wednesday morning to submit his regrets.
"We've already set our calendar in December and I communicated to Mr. Trump that that schedule is completed," Romney said.
In a statement to CNN, Trump cited Romney's declining poll numbers, but said he understood the candidate's predicament.
"It would seem logical to me that if I was substantially behind in the polls, especially in Iowa, South Carolina and Florida, I would be participating in the debate," Trump said. "But, I can also understand why Governor Romney decided not to do it."
Too many debates... Cancell ALL of the remaining ones. They are a waste of time and a distraction.
Well, there goes T-Rump's endorsement.
LOL Mitt is such a wimp, but good for him.. Ron Paul will be proven right not to have gone...
After all, folks, Trump DID say that Romney had closed " a few small deals". At least Romney ahs the guts to hit Trump where it hurts, in the ego. Now if only the rest of the panderers will tell him to take a hike....
Good for Romney, Huntsman and Paul. Guess Trump the Carnival Barker will have to put on his circus with just three clowns!
Way to go Mr. Weathervane! Once again waiting to see which way the wind was blowing instead of tacking an actual stand.
Looks like it will be Satan and the God-Whisperers!~
Ron Paul gets the last laugh in this...
I heard Trump was planning "The Wife Swap" with Newt for the episode after "The Debate". Apparently the setting would be at some back country Bed and Breakfast in New Hampshire. Can anyone verify?
Trump is a real estate millionaire – yet with all of his wealth, he cannot afford a decent haircut. This should be a tell tale sign as to how he would govern as President of the United States.
It doesn’t look like anyone wants to come to trumps birthday party – even with a big fancy cake and a bouncy castle. Looks like the Donald will need to keep throwing his toys out of his pram to anyone who will listen – well at least Bachmann will show up.
It probably won't matter how many show up, as Trump likes to hear himself talk so much that none of the candidates will ever get to talk anyway.
a seemingly "Presidential" maneuver. Good move, Romney! you just made the rest of the GOP field look really stupid! and for that I applaud you!
These guys and girl need to wake up, or do they just want to hand Obama another term. To many debates and on top of that with Trump are they serious.
I wonder why presidential hopefuls wouldnt want to help promote the new season of Donalds reality show...the fact the he is moderating is a complete joke when another one of his companies just filed for bankruptcy again
Well good to those who have stated that they will not participate in Trump's Circus...
Smart move by Romney. Trump is crony capitalism personified.
A debate with Gingrich, Santorum, Bachmann, and Perry with Trump moderating would be better than an episode of Family Guy. C'mon, don't tell me you wouldn't find it entertaining.
All the candidates that go on a reality TV debate hosted by one of the most hated celebrities in the country deserve to lose millions of votes for degrading the Presidential process. Trump has been degrading the country far too long and this is just another one of his scams and the candidates will find out it could be one of the worst mistakes they make. It would not take much of a focus group to figure out this will be a joke that will cost the candidates dearly.Trump is known around the world as a big mouth blowhard and it is a disgrace for a Presidential candidate to bow down to this blowhard.
How about a face off between Romney, Paul and Huntsman moderated by Jim Lehrer the day before Trumps Reality Debate?
They could set a messy table for "the Donald" and really deflate his ego.
The Ringmaster and his parade of clowns. I will not vote for ANYONE that desperate to get that cheap attention. How sad this has become.
The carnival has come to town, it's called the Republican Party. The have turned the Presidential nominating process into a reality show. Is there any Republican out there with any ethics or integrity.
Good choice Mitt !!!! How can Trump talk about being behind in the polls when he is the biggest loser!
Don't worry. Bachmann will be there. She can debate herself.
Steven in VA Yes! I agree - highly entertaining.
Good for you Mitt.