Newsmax is going to hold a GOP presidential debate on December 27, and it looks like Donald Trump will be the moderator, as reported by a highly amused New York Times:
“Our readers and the grass roots really love Trump,” said Christopher Ruddy, chief executive of Newsmax Media. “They may not agree with
him on everything, but they don’t see him as owned by the Washington establishment, the media establishment.”
Mr. Trump’s role in the debate, which will be broadcast on the cable network Ion Television, is sure to be one of the more memorable moments in a primary season that has already delivered its fair share of circus-like spectacle.
Mr. Trump’s own flirtation with running for president this year seems almost quaint (whose birth certificate was he all worked up about?) compared with more recent distractions – like allegations of adultery and sexual harassment, gaffes that seemed scripted from a late-night comedy show, and a six-figure line of credit at Tiffany & Co.
Yeah, this is nothing at all like the sober process that gave us Bill Clinton or Barack Obama, is it? The 2008 Democrat primary was filled with nothing but stately, scandal-free exemplars of uncontroversial probity, such as John Edwards and Bill Richardson. And thank heavens the eventual winner was thoroughly vetted by the media, with nothing at all unusual to be found in his record!
One of the GOP candidates has already taken a pass on the Trump debate, as reported by Yahoo News:
Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman is the first to send his regrets.
“We look forward to watching Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich suck up to Trump with a big bowl of popcorn,” Huntsman spokesman Tim Miller told Yahoo News.
The debate organizers sent out debate notices to the presidential campaigns today, but they have not yet heard back about who will show, Newsmax Social Media Director Brett Sandala confirmed.
“We’ve gotten a few positive responses but we’re not doing any release on that until next week,” Sandala said.
Miller should have constructed that sentence better, because at first I thought he was accusing Romney and Gingrich of trying to woo Trump with heavy doses of salt, butter, and corn. It’s actually very difficult to suck up to someone while you’re holding a big bowl of popcorn. You end up with popcorn all over the place. But no, he means they’ll be kicking back with a pile of snacks at Huntsman HQ and watching the debate along with the rest of America. You can afford to do that when you’re as far ahead in the polls as Jon Huntsman is.
Huntsman and Trump haven’t been getting along very well lately. Trump said Huntsman “has zero chance of getting the nomination” and blew off the notion of meeting with him because “time is money, and I don’t waste time.” The Huntsman camp fired back that he wouldn’t be “wasting his time with Presidential Apprentice,” unlike Trump ring-kissers such as Rick Perry and Mitt Romney. His refusal to appear at the Trump debate is therefore unsurprising. Besides, everyone knows the Huntsman campaign doesn’t horse around with goofy stuff.
Some wonder if Trump is an appropriate choice for moderator, since he may be entertaining third-party dreams himself, and could therefore have a built-in bias toward making all of the GOP candidates look bad. That would make him just like every other debate moderator.
Several of the candidates have already sat down with Trump, including Romney, Perry, Michele Bachmann, and soon Newt Gingrich. He’ll certainly bring in viewers, and for all of his outsized flair and colorful bombast, he’s a very serious guy when it comes to money, which is the topic most on America’s mind right now. Look at it this way: Donald Trump can give the Republican candidates a bumper crop of eyeballs on December 27. What the candidates do with all that attention is up to them.