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. Leslie Lawrence

    This man is so full of crap .... The Donald....blech.

    December 13, 2011 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  2. Publius Novus

    I'll bet you $10,000 he doesn't run.

    December 13, 2011 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  3. DC Mike

    His hair later issued a statement announcing that it would continue without Donald Trump.

    December 13, 2011 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  4. Ron Paul in'12

    Dr. Paul owned everyone in this by being the first to pull out.

    December 13, 2011 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  5. Ron

    at least Ross Perot was respectful compared to this rump can you say AWKWARD!

    December 13, 2011 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  6. "I'm not a letch ~ any more".

    Reminds me of something....................oh yea....rats escaping a sinking ship.

    December 13, 2011 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  7. Che

    The GOP hair piece toupee Master Clown have lost his pink nose.
    Whew, some circus clown with poor college grades.

    December 13, 2011 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  8. calvin

    Trump is really Clueless!!!

    December 13, 2011 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  9. mark

    another example of a 1%'er thinking the other 99% are just stupid. he pulled out becuase of a potential conflict. he father should have thought of that and pulled out as well.

    December 13, 2011 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  10. GOPisGreedOverPeople

    It really is.

    December 13, 2011 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  11. Jamie from Riverside

    Loser! Nobody takes this phony seriously.

    December 13, 2011 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  12. Cynthia C

    Noooooooo! That was going to be such a fabulous debacle! I for one am very very sad.

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

    Please , Let's not relect a single person back in office. This group has failed and needs to be FIRED. If we relect these people back in , We deserve what ever happens to us. Together now. RON PAUL RON PAUL RON PAUL. As a country as a people we CAN'T RELECT..

    December 13, 2011 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  14. WW

    The debate organizers should ask Herman Cain to moderate the debate. He's bowed out... and IMO, I believe he could keep the candidates on-topic.

    December 13, 2011 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  15. achepotle

    He is flakier than Palin.

    December 13, 2011 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  16. Keith

    Other reasons for his withdrawal ( pick your favourite )

    1. The Koch brothers begged him not to, for the sake of the GOP cause.
    2. He couldn't find his birth certificate.
    3. He didnt want to hand Obama a PR coup

    December 13, 2011 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  17. achepotle

    He is a bigger flake than Sarah

    December 13, 2011 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  18. achepotle

    He has about the same gravitas as Sarah Palin.

    December 13, 2011 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  19. jim

    Not that I ever thought I'd say this:
    Ron Paul won this argument.

    December 13, 2011 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  20. Peter

    Too bad Donald Trump's dad didn't pull out.

    December 13, 2011 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  21. Jamie from Riverside

    I bet Rosie O'Donnell is having a good laugh today.

    December 13, 2011 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  22. MagnumPIE

    Donald is full of it. If the other candidates would have agreed to join and this didn't turn into a complete failure, there's zero chance Trump wouldn't have gone through with it. Trump caring about conflict of interest, now that's funny.

    December 13, 2011 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  23. Bill Bigsby

    Trump is the worst human beingon the planet. The guy just oozes sleaze. If I were the RNC I'd try and bury this guy because ever time he opens his mouth he says something stupid.

    December 13, 2011 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  24. vel

    "Yes, brave Sir Robin turned about
    And gallantly he chickened out
    Bravely taking to his feet
    He beat a very brave retreat
    Bravest of the brave, Sir Robin" Monty Pytlon, The Holy Grail

    December 13, 2011 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  25. Ted


    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."

    Actually, Lynda was probably correct. I would find it hard to believe that Trump could avoid putting in his 2 cents every opportunity he got. And, in this case, I would have to raise my hand to Lynda's initial statement. I never thought Trump would deprive himself of some air time....even if it was ONLY him, without any debate.

    December 13, 2011 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14