Donald Trump Backs Out of Debate, Floating Independent Bid

Dec 13, 2011 2:12pm
gty donald trump jef 111202 wblog Donald Trump Backs Out of Debate, Floating Independent Bid

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Donald Trump has backed out of moderating a Republican debate because, he says, he’s still considering running for president as an independent candidate.

In a statement on Tuesday, Trump said that GOP candidates are “very concerned” that he will announce an independent candidacy after “The Apprentice” ends, and that they won’t agree to a debate with him unless he rules that out. Which he won’t do.

“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 his 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.”

Trump was scheduled to moderate the Dec. 27 debate in Iowa, though only two Republican candidates had agreed to be there — Newt Gingrich, the technical front-runner, and Rick Santorum, who has trailed in polls.

The Donald had flirted with running for president early in the year, but he said he was abandoning that decision in May, after President Obama made public his full birth certificate, which Trump had demanded be released. At the time, Trump insisted in a statement that “if I were to run, I would be able to win the primary and ultimately, the general election.”

Here’s Trump’s full statement on why he won’t moderate the Newsmax forum:

“The Republican Party candidates are very concerned that sometime after the final episode of The Apprentice, on May 20th, when the equal time provisions are no longer applicable to me, I will announce my candidacy for President of the United States as an Independent and that, unless I conclusively agree not to run as an Independent, they will not agree to attend or be a part of the Newsmax debate scheduled for December 27, 2011. 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. 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. The American people are embarrassed by the gridlock currently taking place in Washington. I must leave all of my options open because, above all else, we must make America great again!

“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. I believe this would not only have been the most watched debate, but also the most substantive and interesting debate!”

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