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. Bob

    I wish his dad would have pulled out!

    December 13, 2011 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  2. KBNJ

    Thank G0D! What pathetic megalomaniac. Seems he pulls out of things quite often – which is a good thing because the last thing we need is more of him trampling over good people and good sense.

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

    They declined because they didn't feel like going to the circus that day and be part of the act.

    December 13, 2011 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  4. Nanci

    The only true way to get rid of this kind of cancer on America is to remove it. Meaning stop watching his shows, stop going to his casino,s, buying any endorsement or business owned ventures. That would take care of his stain on us.

    December 13, 2011 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  5. Tom

    Good if he runs as an Independent. Maybe pull some of those conservative Republican votes!

    December 13, 2011 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  6. Wayne

    The Donald's problem are his balls...the problem being one is the size of a mustard seed and the other one is a little bitty thing!!!!

    December 13, 2011 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  7. Stacey

    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.

    Oh puleeze! Whether Chump ... I mean Trump was debating or moderating, it really doesn't matter because The Trump Circus Debates ain't happening! Unfortunately for Stump ... I mean Trump, he could only get two clowns to show up instead of six. Poor GOP – what a joke!

    December 13, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  8. MaryM

    lol, Trump and palin will team up and the candidates slogan will be dumb and dumber

    December 13, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  9. Java

    Yawn...what shame, or was that a sham.

    December 13, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  10. DC Observer

    The majority of the republican candidates withdrew and that was the smart thing to do as this was a circus with an arrogant self centered reality TV host as moderator - NUTS. Newt signed up because he belongs in a circus with Trump and Newt already knew Trump is going to endorse him. Santorum signed up because he has no money; has little chance to stay in; and this gave him some more exposure. Trump is so full of himself - my dog has a better chance running as an Independent than Mr Wig, and my dog has better hair (and it is his own).

    As for Gingrich, if he wins the GOP nomination, he will destroy the Republicans' chances for the White House for a second time. Newt cannot beat Obama because he has too much baggage; is an insider with a dirty recond in Congress; cannot get independents or moderates to support him, and will make the election about him and not the economy and debt – this plays right into Obama's hands as Obama would win hands down on an election based on character – not so against Romney.. If Republicans do not wake up and realize they must compromise in the primaries and select Mitt Romney, they have no hope of capturing the White House in 2012. Only Mitt can get the Independents and moderates –and unlike Newt, there will be no character issues (cheating on a wife who had cancer; or undermining President Herbert Bush in the balanced budget amendment vote that sunk the GOP under Newt"s watch when he lied to then President Bush.

    Newth has real issues. Issues of character. Issues of policy. Issues of trustworthiness. Issues of honesty. On top of this, Newt is just not a nice man – he is vicious – will change his position on a dime – and will outright lie about his record and what he stands for. Gingrich will never be President The only thing Newt might be able to accomplish, is to derail the republican's bid for the Oval Office a second time, and damage the GOP

    December 13, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  11. Ted

    Well this whole thing was with the blessings of "NewsMax", so, you know.... it had to be messed up from the beginning. They can't deliver the truth on a daily basis, let alone with a Presidential debate. It would have been more of a "Lets see how much we can bash Obama" type of evening instead of finding out which Republican actually has answers to the problems.

    December 13, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  12. tp1776

    Trump failed with the birther non-issue and he failed with his king maker non-debate. I wonder how many more funny fails he has left?

    December 13, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  13. Maria

    Huntsman and Paul were the first to decline. Good for them. Donal Trump is a fake, big mouthed buffoon. His ego is so big it obstructs his view of reality.

    December 13, 2011 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  14. David

    He was probably instructed to pull out by Grover Norquist...who has been crazy jealous at the GOP attention Donald has been getting.

    December 13, 2011 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  15. CEOs United

    What would add insult to injury would be all the candidates now agreeing to participate in the Newsmax debate.

    December 13, 2011 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  16. Tori

    For once we are all in agreement!

    December 13, 2011 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  17. misslinda

    ditto what bigdil said - 2 thumbs up!!!!

    December 13, 2011 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  18. DebbieY from Washington State

    This is all such a hoot! Not one comment favorable to his holiness here! He is completely delusional. Strongly think he needs some serious psychotropic medications. Of course, we've all known that for quite some time, which is why we are all so perplexed at the media attention he is given. Shame on you Wolf!! What is even more enlightening is that some Republican candidates found it necessary to kiss his ring...What does that tell us? Holy cow!

    December 13, 2011 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  19. rhall

    Why always the news blackout about Ron Paul? A vote for ANY of these mainstream GOP people is voting for the 1%.

    December 13, 2011 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  20. The Real Tom Paine

    Donald Trump, the GOP's Ralph Nader.

    December 13, 2011 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  21. GaryB

    That's the Trump way. When faced with a mssive looming failure, he throws his hands up, says he's quitting for completely unrelated yet noble reasons, and claims victory. Truly a legend in his own mind.

    December 13, 2011 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  22. matt

    Does Trump follow through with anything he does??

    December 13, 2011 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  23. Obediah

    I really do hope that Americans can come to terms with the fact that Donald Trump actually is a true representative of an average Republican. He is immensely reflecting to the world the core principles of the GOP party and all that stand by it. Selfishness, stupidity and gross arrogance!...all camouflaged by riches or desire thereupon for such!

    December 13, 2011 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  24. Kevin O.

    Donald!!! JUST RUN ALL READY!!! Buy all these people out and just do it!!!

    GOD, I'm so sick of you people. Just freaking execute and stop having meetings about meetings!!!

    If I were in charge I'd have fired all of you for not getting a damn thing accomplished.

    December 13, 2011 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  25. Expat American

    …Trump pulls out of his own debate...
    …Well, I guess old reruns of Miss American and Hair Club for Men infomercials are going to be broadcast in its place....
    ….The fact that Donald, a multi-millionaire cannot afford a decent haircut is a tell tale sign as to how he would govern as President…
    …He does NOT get my vote.

    December 13, 2011 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
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