*Donald Trump announced that he is backing out of moderating a Republican debate in Iowa on Dec. 27, because he is still considering running for president.
“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.”
Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum were the only Republican candidates who had agreed to appear at the Dec. 27 debate moderated by the “Celebrity Apprentice” host.
After the announcement came that Trump would moderate the Dec. 27 event, some of the candidates, including Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman, expressed their belief that the debate was just for spectacle and refused to attend.
“This isn’t about ratings for Donald Trump; this is about jobs for the American people,” Huntsman told CNBC when he announced he would not participate.
Several prominent Republicans have reportedly urged candidates to skip the event. They predicted it would be a media circus and a distraction from important issues.
Trump told The Hollywood Reporter that he wouldn’t make any announcements about his decision to run until after the finale of “The Celebrity Apprentice.” The new season premieres on Sunday, Feb. 12 and the finale airs May 20.