After all but two of the Republican presidential candidates had pulled out of the Dec. 27 Newsmax/ION debate that was to have been moderated by Donald Trump, Trump himself has now dropped out. On Monday he had told Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart that the other candidates had informed him that they would participate in the debate only if he announced that he would not run as an independent. In his statement today (Tuesday), Trump reiterated that assertion, then added, "I am not willing to give up my right to run as an Independent candidate. 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." Trump said that he will make his political intentions known following the final episode of The Apprentice , which is scheduled to air on May 20th. He left open the possibility that he may endorse "the right Republican candidate" but seemed to indicate that he has thus far not discerned one. Neither the conservative website Newsmax nor the ION network has commented on Trump's announcement, and it was unclear whether the debate will take place as scheduled.

14/12/2011