Donald Trump Hosting GOP Presidential Debate
Donald Trump wants a say in who gets the nomination, so he’s hosting a presidential debate, holding out the prospect of his endorsement and threatening an independent run. All that has some conservatives grousing that Trump’s involvement is tarnishing the GOP’s image and diminishing the Republican presidential field as it tries to field a candidate to beat President Barack Obama next year. “GOP candidates would be foolish to show up at Trump’s clown circus/ debate. Walk away,” Republican strategist Mike Murphy advised on Twitter.
Republican strategist Karl Rove, President George W. Bush’s longtime adviser, added on Fox News: “What the heck are the Republican candidates doing showing up at a debate with a guy who says, `I may run for president next year as an independent’?”
On Monday, the TV celebrity met with Newt Gingrich, the latest presidential contender to visit Trump’s New York offices in search of his support, and he released a campaign-style book to offer his views on the economy and the media in his typically bombastic style. In a round of TV interviews, he blistered many of the GOP candidates, saying that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney “doesn’t get the traction” he needs to nail down the nomination and calling Rep. Ron Paul and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman “joke candidates.” And given the field, Trump added, “I would certainly think about running as an independent.”
During one interview, Trump was asked if he agreed with Gingrich’s assertion that there are no role models in the inner-cities. Trump backed up Gingrich; civil rights leader Al Sharpton called the statement offensive and threatened protests if he didn’t retract the statement. So far, only Gingrich, a former House speaker, has committed to attend the Dec. 27 debate.
Huntsman said he wouldn’t be there. “I’m not going to kiss his ring and I’m not going to kiss any other part of his anatomy,” he said. “This is exactly what is wrong with politics. It’s show business over substance,” Huntsman said on Fox News. Paul also planned to skip it, telling CNN that he didn’t understand why candidates were seeking Trump’s support. “I didn’t know he had the ability to lay on hands and anoint people,” Paul said.
Romney, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota have met with Trump. Businessman Herman Cain, who ended his campaign on Saturday, and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin also visited with him.
If Newt Gingrich attends this debate, I hope his numbers fall. There is no way in the world that anyone can believe that Trump is worried about the state of this country. He was on the TODAY show to mainly push his new book that he has out. There is one thing I give him, he is a great PR person…he knows how to get his name out there and loudly. Ron Paul is the man, I like him as a GOP candidate…to bad he won’t be on the ticket. If this is all that the GOP has to offer, they have a problem on their hands come 2012.