Donald Trump announces that his Newsmax/IonTV* debate won't happen, making the statement with the barely-coherent self-regard that we all know and love.
The Republican Party candidates are very concerned that sometime after the final episode of The Apprentice, on May 20th, when the equal time provisions are no longer applicable to me, I will announce my candidacy for President of the United States as an Independent and that, unless I conclusively agree not to run as an Independent, they will not agree to attend or be a part of the Newsmax debate scheduled for December 27, 2011. 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. 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.
It's a blow to Newsmax, whose editor Christopher Ruddy didn't immediately respond to some questions today. (My main question is whether Newsmax will try to hold the debate with another celebrity host. Why not Sarah Palin, with notecards provided by Peter Schweizer?) The website had/has a beautiful friendship with Trump. Ron Kessler, the Newsmax columnist and best-selling author of "inside the [fill in the blank]" books, took credit for Trump's showy speech at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference. The website promoted his campaign with a series of inside/outside stories, which Media Matters recapped earlier this year -- a combination of breaking news about Trump and analyses of how he could win this thing. It was a junior companion to what MM calls the "Fox primary," the boost that candidates like Gingrich and Cain got from their frequent, less-than-hardball appearances on the network.
*What is IonTV?