Donald Trump today announced that he is withdrawing as moderator of the proposed Newsmax ION Television 2012 Republican Presidential Debate scheduled for Dec. 27 in Des Moines, Iowa.
Newsmax Editorial Director Steve Coz said: “We are very disappointed as we believe Mr. Trump would have made a tough and fair moderator. However, we respect his view that the role may have presented a conflict of interest in light of the fact that he now wishes to keep his options open to run for the presidency himself.
“We join Mr. Trump in thanking candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum for their commitment to the debate.”
In his statement Trump said that candidates were concerned that he might announce his run as an Independent candidate after the next season of his NBC reality show, "The Apprentice," ends on May 20, and that was why several candidates had declined an invitation to appear.
“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.”
He added, “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!”
Trump said he believes the debate would have been “the most watched … substantive and interesting” of the campaign.
© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.