Donald Trump has withdrawn as moderator of the upcoming Republican primary debate on Ion TV, saying in a statement on Tuesday that he
will not agree to rule out an Independent run for the presidency after The Apprentice finale in May, according
to multiple published reports.
The Republican Party had expressed concern about Trump
moderating the debate while still debating his candidacy, and only two current
candidates, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum had agreed to participate in the Ion/Newsmax
debate scheduled for Dec. 27.
"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 the 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."
An Ion spokesperson did not immediately respond to request
for comment on the status of the Dec. 27 debate.