Trump pulls out of debate
December 13th, 2011
02:19 PM ET
10 years ago

Trump pulls out of debate

(CNN) - Donald Trump pulled out of the debate he was scheduled to host on Dec. 27 with conservative media organization Newsmax, according to a statement from the real estate mogul.

Trump, who considered a Republican presidential bid earlier this year, said he will not moderate the event to avoid a conflict of interest stemming from a potential independent presidential bid.

"It is very important to me that the right Republican candidate be chosen to defeat the failed and very destructive Obama Administration, but if that Republican, in my opinion, is not the right candidate, I am not willing to give up my right to run as an Independent candidate," Trump said in a statement. "Therefore, so that there is no conflict of interest within the Republican Party, I have decided not to be the moderator of the Newsmax debate."

Republican candidates Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, and Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator, agreed to participate in the debate, but Trump said other candidates declined because of his potential run.

"I would like to thank Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum for having the courage, conviction, and confidence to immediately accept being a part of the Newsmax debate," Trump said. "I believe this would not only have been the most watched debate, but also the most substantive and interesting debate!"

Responding to the announcement on Tuesday, Santorum said he was looking forward to a match with Gingrich at the debate.

"The media has anointed Newt as the frontrunner, isn't it time he go toe to toe with the consistent conservative alternative? The people of Iowa deserve as many opportunities to hear from the candidates as possible, because while Obama is beatable, we have to elect a conservative nominee who's record is a clear contrast to the President's," Santorum said in a statement to CNN.

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, who's met with Trump multiple times, was widely expected to attend the debate but made headlines last week when she declined the invitation.

On Tuesday she explained her decision, saying the debate ultimately wouldn't be worth her time given that only three candidates would be facing off on stage.

"It wasn't going to be a real debate," she said on Sean Hannity's conservative radio talk show. "There was no point in it."

Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus took issue last week with Trump's impending role as moderator, calling into question his potential run as an independent and saying he would understand if some 2012 candidates turned down the offer.

"I think that having a successful businessman serving as a moderator has a lot of value but the issue here is whether the moderator should be a person who is still batting around the idea of running as an independent," Priebus said on Fox News.

Also see:

Gingrich, Huntsman's friendly foreign policy debate

Giuliani: Gingrich may be stronger than Romney

Cheney: Don't underestimate Gingrich

Santorum counting on Iowa

Filed under: 2012 • Donald Trump
soundoff (349 Responses)
  1. drod3

    Republicans are shaking their heads right now and saying "Why doesn't Trump, Palin, Cain, Perry, Romney, Gingrich and the others just go away and never come back?" They're shouting inside "Please send me a real candidate for Christmas"

    December 13, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  2. David Bradley

    The fact that the GOP takes Trump, Palin and Cain seriously keeps me from taking the GOP seriously. Ronald Reagan wouldn't have put up with this silliness.

    December 13, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  3. jack

    Donnie boy you have just a handful of friends and a one would elect you as a an independent either...go back and go your buidling facades from China...All american boy

    December 13, 2011 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  4. JohnnyBrown

    Trumps only ally is spin. Trumps biggest enemy is the truth.

    December 13, 2011 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  5. Marco

    Somebody tell trump that he is embarassing.

    December 13, 2011 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  6. Joe

    Being as there are only two candidates willing to cow tow to me...his donaldship...I am withdrawing to save what little face I have left.

    December 13, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  7. david

    It's my party I can cry if I want to....

    December 13, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  8. jj

    I'd like to see Trump's birth certificate

    December 13, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  9. anagram_kid

    Earlier this year Trump had a choice – run for the most important job in the free world or host a reality show. He chose the latter and in doing so proved that he is more interested in celebrity than serving his country. But to those who support a Trump almost-campaign, I say don’t worry; he will repeat the same dance number four years from now.

    December 13, 2011 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  10. Ejay

    So, The Serial Quitter has quit again, eh? And you think that is newsworthy?

    December 13, 2011 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  11. bigdil

    Translation: I, Donald Trump, hereby withdraw as moderator of the upcoming debate because, from the moment Ron Paul correctly declared that the Emperor had no clothes, it was clear that any candidate who attended the debate would be politically damaged by associating themselves with such a bafoon. In order to avoid the embarrassment of admitting that everyone now knows I am a clown, I will pretend (with the help of Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus) that my sham presidential ambitions were the reason that each of those other candidates declined to participate. In this way, I will save some small shred of dignity while limiting otherwise certain political damage to Newt Gingrich which would have certainly have resulted from his further unseemly pandering for my endorsement.

    December 13, 2011 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  12. Madtown

    Aw, man........we just lost a lot of comedy. This debate may have been funniest so far out of all of them! Too bad.

    December 13, 2011 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  13. Rick McDaniel

    That was to be expected, with little participation.

    December 13, 2011 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  14. Straight Shooter

    If only Trump's dad had pulled out.....

    December 13, 2011 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  15. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I have to say that I am sorry to hear that he won't be doing that debate. It would really be interesting to see him try to contain himself when he hears something out of the candidates mouths that he doesn't like.

    December 13, 2011 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  16. kalo

    Trump is a true jerk. He should be running for president with the other winners.

    December 13, 2011 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  17. Fela

    Oh no, what do we do for entertainment. The King of comedy Trump has withdrawn? What are the late night host going to do for laughs? What's going to happen to his hair?

    December 13, 2011 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  18. Sick

    NOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Don't back out!

    I haven't seen a good comedy on TV in a while.

    December 13, 2011 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  19. Jamey Carothers

    Has Trump's mental illness ever been officially diagnosed?

    December 13, 2011 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  20. BLKMANinAmerica

    Clearly it would had been yet another KKK rally so who really gives a darn?

    December 13, 2011 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  21. Yup

    Hey Trump.....just so you know, you are looked at as the biggest joke, keep quiet and fix your hair.

    December 13, 2011 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  22. Rick

    Does this guy really think he make any old BS up and people will buy it? What a fool.

    December 13, 2011 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  23. Douglas

    Good riddance, Donald. Man up and just admit that your massive ego couldn't handle the fact that most candidates are not even interested in showing up for your circus.

    December 13, 2011 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  24. Patriot

    I for one would love to know who the "right Republican candidate" is in Trump's opinion.

    December 13, 2011 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  25. Lynda/Minnesota


    Trumps pulls out of debate with Gingrich and Santorum.
    Raise your hands if you didn't see this coming."

    He was not going to be debating them, he was going to moderate the debate. Raise your hand if you comprehend the difference.

    Raise your hand if you can't read the story headline "Trump Pulls Out Of Debate." (Geesh, the things that set some people off their rockers is unbelievable.)

    December 13, 2011 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
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