Paul campaign calls Trump debate ‘wildly inappropriate’
December 3rd, 2011
11:32 AM ET
11 years ago

Paul campaign calls Trump debate ‘wildly inappropriate’

(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.

Filed under: 2012 • Donald Trump • Ron Paul
soundoff (276 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Donald T-Rump will not support any candidate who is not a birther, who does not Donald is his holiness, and has not eaten pizza with a fork. I look forward to Donald declaring himself the winner of the debate.

    December 3, 2011 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  2. Thomas

    Will the debate be like Wheel of Fortune , where the candidates spin a wheel for a topic ?

    Your Fired !

    December 3, 2011 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  3. Obama4ever2013

    Republicans are now forming a reality now that's really going to get the public excited about voting republican......I have heard it all nothing else to be said...I'm so flabbergasted....

    December 3, 2011 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  4. Kenny K


    That sounds good up to the point that people like you and banks start asking for bailout. You need to move to third world country if you really want to experience full fledge capitalism where nobody care about others but their pockets.

    December 3, 2011 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  5. JoshLowry

    Stop using insults. That's so 2007. Total lack of substance.

    Ron Paul understands the fiscal problems that we face today.

    He wants to take care of people here at home by cutting non-defense spending and nation building.

    December 3, 2011 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  6. JoshLowry

    Also, why do "Ron Paul is a nut." comments get approved by moderators?

    December 3, 2011 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  7. Me in MN

    What a mockery of the highest office in the land. I agree with Paul (I'm shocked, too!) and Hunstman. This is the great office to hold! Not a reality game show to stroke the Donald's already bloated ego.

    December 3, 2011 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  8. Three legs

    The GOP is a once proud party that is now a sad joke. If a 'debate' moderated by Donald Plump doesn't drive tht point home, I don't know what does. What a sad spectacle.

    December 3, 2011 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  9. carlos

    alaskapalin....your below plant level iq is really ENJOYABLE..........UHG,PHEW....bye and please get a life

    December 3, 2011 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  10. Audi_o

    Paul/Huntsman 2012

    One will protect civil liberties, end the wars and get our economy back on track, the other will be one to lead us into a new era of foreign diplomacy and smart partnership with China.

    December 3, 2011 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  11. Lars

    This illustrates why Huntsman or Paul would be good presidents – God knows we desperately need men with common sense who can see straight through an ethics misstep like this. Newsmax and Trump are both examples of what the sober middle of America deplores.

    December 3, 2011 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  12. ThinkAgain

    I think before Trump is allowed to moderate a debate, he should have to produce original, long-form birth certificates for both himself and his hair... That's about how seriously ANYONE should take a "debate" hosted by this prissy yahoo!

    December 3, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  13. ThinkAgain

    AlaskaPalin: "Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration." – Abraham Lincoln, Joint Session of Congress, December 3, 1861

    December 3, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  14. Doug

    Donald Trump has questionable character, with that said he obviously is a better more moral and honest person than any Democrat. Check out the blue areas, nuff said!

    December 3, 2011 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  15. ThinkAgain

    "Those who are able to produce the highest quality, working longest hours at lowest labor cost will contribute greatest to the system. Unionization is strangling capitalism."

    Then please explain the 40-year economic expansion started by FDR's New Deal and Henry Ford's insistence on paying his workers $5/day when at the time most made $3/day. (Hint: The expansion of the Middle Class, and Ford knew that if he paid his workers well, he'd attract better workers who could buy his and others' products and services, respectively.)

    December 3, 2011 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  16. One American's Rant

    Come on people, don't we want a new reality show with washed-up politicians? The new catch phrase will be "You're Elected!"

    December 3, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  17. Noodle Nose Johnson

    I fully approve of the Trump moderated debate. It will show once and for all what a complete joke the GOP has become. The Presidency is not a reality show.

    December 3, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  18. Jim Thompson

    Does anyone care if Paul or Huntsman appear? Both are _losers_, and detract from a good debate. This debate will probably be the most edifying of all... I expect Trump to ask some nasties.

    December 3, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  19. CCCDaughter

    Trump will be the Ringmaster of the Circus! Jon Huntsman has more character and would not want to be a member of the freak show, unlike Newt and Bachmann.

    December 3, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  20. Sam

    So. The Donald needs a ratings boast for TV show, so now it's "The Apprentice-Polictical Addition"? Glad some of the candidates can see through this rouse.

    December 3, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  21. Larry

    Well said

    December 3, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  22. Jean Sartre, Milwaukee, WI

    The Republic Party's, I think they call them DEBATES, has been nothing less than a colossal, ridiculous joke so far... having The Donald host one more of these jokes would probably, hopefully, bring an end to this inane cartoon...

    December 3, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  23. doug

    Likely a mistake by Paul and Huntsman. Regardless of character, Trump is a great promoter. This debate will be the most watched GOP debate of the year. Opportunity could be lost by not attending.

    December 3, 2011 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  24. philip inuhoff

    Newsmax and Donald Trump? What is the prerequisite to entry? Herpes?

    December 3, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  25. Rogervzv

    You know, Ron Paul is not my candidate but it is striking the way that he keeps being right about a lot of things. Why the Republican Party keeps allowing its presidential candidates to participate in media reality shows with hostile personalities, and now Trump the clown, is an utter mystery to me. Rep. Paul is on-target: Trump is inappropriate as a moderator for a serious debate and it is demeaning to the candidates, the Republican Party, and the office of the Presidency for Trump to participate in this fashion.

    December 3, 2011 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
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