Bachmann says no to Trump/Newsmax debateby Dara Kam | December 9th, 2011
U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann won’t participate in a GOP presidential candidate debate hosted by West Palm Beach’s Newsmax and moderated by part-time Palm Beacher Donald Trump.
Bachmann’s spokeswoman Alice Stewart confirmed late last night that Bachmann will not take part in the Dec. 27 debate – the last before the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses meet on Jan. 3 – but did not give a reason. Bachmann has met at least four times with Trump since she entered the race, most recently in New York on Nov. 21.
Thus far, only Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have agreed to field questions from “The Donald,” although Newsmax executives have said three candidates have confirmed but would not identify them. Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman, Rick Perry and Ron Paul have also refused to join the debate.
As recently as two weeks ago, Trump, who once flirted with running in the GOP primary, said he hasn’t ruled out running as an independent.
The possibility of the real estate mogul and reality TV show host entering the race prompted some GOP leaders, including Karl Rove and Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, to condemn the debate.
“We appreciate what Mr. Trump has done, but if you’re still talking about potentially running as an independent candidate, I think that’s a problem,” Priebus said on Fox News last night. “I think that would be malpractice for me as an RNC chairman to not believe that that is an issue.”
The debate is slated to air on another Palm Beach institution – Ion Television, the former PAX TV, which is based in West Palm Beach and reaches more than 99 million households nationwide.