It did not take long for reaction to flood in concerning Donald Trump’s accepting an invitation by Newsmax and ION TV to moderate a Republican presidential debate Dec. 27.
Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren was the first to grill Trump about the debate in an interview on her show.
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When asked why he agreed to do it, Trump said: “I got a call from the people at Newsmax, which is a great group, and the ION folks — who I guess they reach 100 million people, a very large television network. And they came to see me and asked whether or not I’d be willing to do it. And it is a little bit of a change and a little bit of something different for me. And I said, yes, I would do it. I want to see what’s going on. I mean, we want to get the right person in there. There’s no question about that. So I agreed
to do it.”
Trump bristled a little when Van Susteren asked about the debate format.
“I really think we should stop with the formalities. I watch the different moderators get up and explain what the debate is about. It’s a waste of time. A debate is a debate.” he explained.
“We’ll have a debate on the issues. We’ll be talking about things like, as an example, OPEC, where nobody is talking about OPEC at the debates, or very little. China. India, other countries that are just taking our lunch right out of our mouths…
“So we’ll be talking about very important issues and talking about social issues and environmental issues maybe to a lesser extent, but we’ll be talking about environmental issues and talking about lots of different things.”
Trump added: “This is a serious debate. Some said, this will be ‘The Apprentice.’ The fact is this is a serious debate, and a lot of people will be watching.”
Concerning the decision by former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman to sit out the debate, Trump replied, “He has no chance of winning anyway so that’s good because we can have more time for the people who are serious candidates.”
“I think it would get high ratings and we have some very serious questions,” Trump added.
Regarding Huntsman’s decision to not take part in the debate, his campaign said Republicans deserve a “serious discussion of the issues.”
Meanwhile, Forbes reports Huntsman’s campaign told the Business Insider they look forward to watching “Mitt and Newt suck up to the Donald,” adding that Huntsman not taking part shows he’s the only adult in the Republican presidential campaign.
The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein says this “raises the question of what other reality show hosts could be running Republican debates.”
Trump also said during the Fox interview he would not be making any candidate endorsements prior to the debate.
He added that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has a meeting with him on Monday, but he emphasized he would only make an endorsement “sometime after the debate.”