Noting that Republicans had expressed concern about his moderating a candidate forum, since he has not closed off the possibility for running as an independent, Trump said he would bow out of the Dec. 27 event.
"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 a 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." The only two candidates who had agreed to participate in a Trump-moderated debate were Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum.
On Monday night, Santorum told Greta Van Susteren of Fox News: “I’m looking forward to it, and you know, the opportunity to be on the stage with Newt [Gingrich] and Donald [Trump] . . . I don’t know if there's enough room for me as far as, you know, the presence on the stage. But I’ll make my way through it — and I think I’ll be OK.”