(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."
Good for Romney! I am so sick of Donald Duck T-Rump imposing himself into politics. Will somebody fire him please?!
Good for Romney. A Trump debate, he will be doing all the talking not the candidates.
Trump really is sleazy. All he has to offer are ad hominem attacks to those who dare to question whether he should moderate a debate.
and lose both ends of it!!!!
Finally some leadership from the man! Now publicly throw Fox Fake News under the bus and you're the next president of the United States!!
i can't believe ROMNEY this presidentual hopeful has got a problem with our president taking 17 days of for christmas!.. the republican lead house of reps has averaged 2 days a week in washington doing the peoples business. if our president took the next three mounths off he would still have better attendance than john boehner and his very lazy following including the new "going to work hard for the people TEA PARTYERS"!
Michelle will decline next.....Perry will commit, and forget to show up.....Newt will debate himself, and discover that he is a flip flopper afterall.
Ron Paul 2012!!
With only Gingrich, Santorum, Perry, and Bachmann (maybe), this will be nothing but comedian fodder. Maybe Trump can invite Cain and Palin along for the ride and then he could put a mirror up so he could ask himself questions. Wait, that is a bad idea; the mirror Trump would get the majority of the questions.
Donald Trump should very well understand why Mitt Romney rebuffed his invitation to participate in the Trump Debate. This debate is a joke and a circus and everyone including Trump, knows it. Romney is a serious contender and does not have time and energy for foolishness and games. Romney is the third presidential nomination candidate who has sense enough to shun this ridiculous spectacle. Apparently, the other candidates do not have any sense and will kiss the ring of Donald Trump, attend his debate and allow him to make fools out of all of them!!
Who died and made Trump "The Great Anointer"?????
Non of the potential nominees have much to gain by Trump being the moderator. No upside, but definitely a downside. Newt is probably the only one who could go mano v. mano with the Donald., Bachmann is Trump's closet buddy, so she should fair nicely.
Trump knows how to get attention. His next step...spread a rumor that he might run as independent...
I don't like Romeny but a good choice for not going. Why would you want to talk about old news with someone. That Obama handed him ( Trump ) his own face to him... what a chump.
We all love to watch a train wreck, and this will be a monster!!
Trump is such a dork I can't even consider voting for ANY republican who wouldnshow up.
Romney's decision not to attend Trump's debate was a blow to Trump's agenda.
He wanted to go down in history as the "Master Debater".
Good for Romney. Trump is a joke.
yep you understand why donald, because you know your a joke.
I guess Mitt doesn't need the "Hair" time.
Good for Romney. Why should he subject himself to ridicule from someone as phony as Donald Trump?
and mitt tell it like it is…don't lollygag around the facts. Huntsman is the only great/sane one in this field of morons.
Romney is not afraid of Trump; he is afraid to debate Gingrich. Mitt knows he is far weaker.
Trump is silly. He's still beating the old birther drum. He needs to grow up.
Very stupid decision by Mitt. Everyone will see it as cowardice.
Who is more serious then Donald Trump?
That's a cool slap!! Mr. Trump, just interview Gingrich and get it done. Else, it will be a shame on the word "debate".