Despite Donald Trump’s influence in the realm of Republican politics, five GOP presidential candidates rejected the invitation to participate in his debate, leaving the mogul to rethink his actions.
Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman, Rick Perry and former frontrunner Mitt Romney have all declined to show at the Iowa debate on Dec. 27.
Although most of the candidates cite campaign schedule conflicts as the reason, critics have speculated that Trump’s participation as the moderator could have been a major factor.
Either way, Trump may be reconsidering some details of the contest.
In an interview with Fox News’ Don Imus, the businessman was asked about the status of the event, and he evasively replied, “we’ll have to see.”
Trump also spoke about the cast of candidates, saying that he was surprised that certain aspirants sought his endorsement for the GOP nomination, but snubbed him when it came time for the debate.
“I did a two hour phone call for (Bachmann) with her people,” Trump revealed to Fox Business News' Don Imus, “And then after all that, she announced she was not going to the debate. It’s unbelievable. It’s called loyalty. How do you do that? It’s amazing to me.”
“The Apprentice” star also weighed in on Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman, painting their decline to debate as ignorant when considering their places at the bottom of the polls.
“They’re not going to win,” Trump said when being interviewed by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
With Mitt Romney lacking the “courage” to participate, according to Trump, that left only current frontrunner Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum, who has never risen above single digits in the polls.
NewsMax Media Editorial Director Steve Coz told The New York Times that the debate was still on, saying, “we just had a production meeting this morning, and we’re pushing full steam ahead.”
However, the last two-man debate (the one between Gingrinch and then-candidate Herman Cain) resulted in more agreement than divergence, even though many policies were discussed.
When taking the stage among other GOP rivals, the two would decry each other’s views, but when on stage together, the pair seemed hesitant to openly criticize.
The same thing could happen with the Dec. 27 debate, if only attended by two candidates.
Although Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have very dissimilar perspectives, Trump may have to reconsider launching the second two-person debate of the GOP race to the nomination.