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. michael

    My respect level for Ron Paul just went thru the roof.

    December 3, 2011 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  2. cpeters

    Yes, let's not have Trump run the debate, but instead have the major networks (without Fox) , with their leftist reporters who don't understand the economy, do the interrogating.

    December 3, 2011 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  3. jimatmadison

    I knew Ron Paul would eventually say something sensible.

    I was beginning to give up hope.

    December 3, 2011 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  4. normajean @ verizon ,com

    I do agree that the only really viable candidate on the Repub side would be Huntsman. He seems to be intellegent and solid. He has no questionable background that has come to the fore as yet......What is interesting is his reluctance to come forward and make himself known to the voters. I can understand his not wanting to join current the circus, because he doesn't come across as a clown!! I'm beginning to wonder if the timing is a Repub. ploy to have him show up later in the year { I don't know if that is legal?} as a new candidate. If so.....he surely woulld change the face of the whole election!!!!...Hmmmmmmmmmmm!!

    December 3, 2011 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  5. CBR

    Donald Trump is only interested in one person, Donald Trump. Why should he feel he has the ability to run a debate? He is not one to let other people express an opinion.

    There have been too many times when statements by Mr. Trump are suspect. His ego would not allow him to be impartial. He has already talked about these candidates and given his assessment. That alone should make candidates realize that he is not the person to moderate a fair and open debate.

    December 3, 2011 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  6. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Newsmax just lost all credibility (not that they had much to begin with) by sponsoring this lunacy with Mr. Combover as moderator.

    December 3, 2011 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  7. Indi-in-ID

    Is this an intelligence test?

    December 3, 2011 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  8. Indi-in-ID

    So far only 2 candidates are near an IQ of 100!

    December 3, 2011 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  9. James in Dallas

    I'm voting for Obama. Again. Do you hear me Republicans? I will NEVER EVER EVER EVER vote for you. EVER!! You represent NOTHING I stand for. You cannot persuade me to ever vote for you. You could even bribe me, there is not enough money in the world for me to do that. You are trashing our country, and I will do whatever I can to defeat you.

    December 3, 2011 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  10. Sylvestor Johnson

    F Trump. Plain and simple. I hope the debate has 0 ratings.

    December 3, 2011 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  11. James in Dallas

    AlaskaPalin, everything you say is wrong.

    December 3, 2011 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  12. Nick

    I will only watch this debate if Trump promise not to show his ugly face on TV.

    December 3, 2011 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  13. Nabillion

    the donald thinking he is the man. sorry bud you need to just go back to running the show on the apprentice

    December 3, 2011 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  14. marc alori

    RON PAUL is the most reasonable candidate on the GOP
    in fact his foreign policies make the most sense for our country
    only Ron Paul would be better than Obama for his not accomplished promises

    December 3, 2011 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  15. Selma

    Having a debate moderated by a reality TV host; what has this country come to!? I have the utmost respect for Ron Paul for preserving the dignity of presidential debates.

    December 3, 2011 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  16. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Ron Paul is correct because Trump is totally unsuited for being a moderator of a civilized debate. He was also a completely wrong person to be president. Have you looked at the reality show that he hosted? He was firing people left and right. That is something that I feel wouldn't be appropriate because Trump doesn't seem to understand that he couldn't fire Congress.

    December 3, 2011 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  17. Adam

    I have lost respect for trump and besides he has filed for bankruptcy before.

    December 3, 2011 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  18. RillyKewl

    Finally the republikan beauty contestants will be able to perform for a game show host.
    Perfect casting.

    December 3, 2011 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  19. Somebody Else

    Proof what Herman Cain said is TRUE: "Stupid People are Ruining America." Trump is Stupid. People who gave Trump high poll numbers are Stupid. Any TV network that broadcasts a Trump debate is Stupid. Stupid People ARE RUINING AMERICA.

    December 3, 2011 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  20. skarphace

    To me, it makes perfect sense that the two most sensible Republican candidates want nothing to do with the racist, blowhard Trump. These are the only two candidates that I would even consider voting for over Obama. Too bad the Republicans can't pull their heads out of the sand and see that these are their two strongest candidates. It looks like 4 more years of the same, and I blame nobody more than the ignorant Tea Party.

    December 3, 2011 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  21. Somebody Else

    God told Herman Cain to run for president. God just wanted all Cain's womanizing to come out, plus the other crap Cain did in his lifetime. Cain is not punished FOR his sins, but punished BY his sins.

    December 3, 2011 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  22. Chilli

    @Victoria. Obama is about as "progressive" as Dick Cheney. What laundromat have you been living in for the last three years? There is only one anti- war, pro civil liberties candidate in this race and his name is Ron Paul.

    December 3, 2011 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  23. Kathy

    My God! Trump has balls the size of Nebraska. That comb-over twit has the nerve calling anyone a clown!

    December 3, 2011 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  24. Jim

    ANY candidate who is dumb enough to participate in Trump's latest publicity stunt isn't qualified to be President. What's the matter with these people? Get some backbone, refuse to be a Trump Tool, and publicly denounce Trump for being the narcissitic demgogue he is. Man up, all you wanna-be Presidents.

    December 3, 2011 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  25. Will

    Donald Trump has the social maturity of a junior high school cheerleader.

    December 3, 2011 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
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