Donald Trump’s announcement on YouTube on Tuesday night that he was cancelling the Republican presidential candidate debate scheduled for December 27 tried to pin the blame on the Republican Party. A lot of the candidates aren’t coming to his debate “because they think I’m going to run for political office, something I can’t do now…. But around the middle of May I’ll be able to do whatever I want and I could run as an Independent. The Republican Party doesn’t want me running as an Independent. So they’ve made this debate pretty impossible…”
Trump claims he wants to keep his options open just in case the Republicans pick the wrong person to run against President Obama:
If the wrong person is in there, somebody who isn’t going to beat Obama…and we have the wrong person, I would seriously consider think about running. But because…the Republicans are upset…I’ve decided to cancel the debate…
I just don’t think it’s fair…to all the millions of people [who] are following what I say…
He expressed disappointment about having to cancel the debate in a statement made public by Politico, saying “I believe this would not only have been the most watched debate, but also the most substantive and interesting debate!”
Others were disappointed as well. Newsmax, the key sponsor of the Iowa debate, corrected Trump’s assertion that he himself canceled the debate on his own authority, noting instead that Trump is “withdrawing as moderator” from the debate, with regrets expressed by Newsmax’s Editorial Director Steve Coz. Coz said, “We are very disappointed as we believe Mr. Trump would have made a tough and fair moderator. However, we respect his view that this role may have presented a conflict of interest in light of the fact that he now wishes to keep his options open to run for the presidency himself.”
Trump’s withdrawal also disappointed at least some in the mainstream media who were eagerly looking forward to the debate as a source of amusement and the opportunity to further denigrate Republican candidates’ attempts to have a serious conversation about the serious issues facing the country. Peter Grier, a staff writer for the Christian Science Monitor, asked rhetorically, “Do you have any idea how much the fourth estate was looking forward to Trump acting like a Wolf Blitzer-wannabe? Quite a bit. Trust us.”
One of those most disappointed is probably professor of economics Thomas DeLorenzo, who offered Trump some suggested questions to ask those candidates who planned to show up. To Newt Gingrich, he had Trump pose this question:
Mr. Gingrich, when I [Trump] sought the nomination in 2000 I asked the question: Who else has called for a pre-emptive strike on North Korea? Would you agree with me that we should start another war, [this time] with North Korea?
To Rick Santorum:
Senator Santorum, when I was running [for president] I said that Israel is “our unsinkable Mideast aircraft carrier” that “is there for us.” But, well, not exactly. There are no Israeli soldiers fighting side-by-side with “us” in Iraq and Afghanistan. If you become president, would you pressure Israel to supply soldiers for our Mideast wars?
To Mitt Romney:
Governor Romney, I know you have taken a lot of heat for being, well, a socialist by introducing socialized healthcare in Massachusetts. I suspect you might agree with me that there’s nothing inherently bad about socialism as long as it’s run by smart, deal-making businessmen like you and me. For example, when I was running I proposed a 14.25% wealth tax on “the wealthiest Americans,” something the Marxist-inspired “Occupy Wall Street” movement would probably go for. I also called for universal healthcare, stating that what we need is a “well-administered single-payer system.” Would you in fact agree with me that socialism of this sort is OK as long as it is well administered by smart and handsome businessmen like us?
And back to Gingrich:
Mr. Speaker, even though we now have a military presence in over 150 countries and our military budget exceeds that of all the other nations of the world combined, I stand by my statement made eleven years ago that ‘the defense budget is too low.’ Don’t you agree?
And then, DeLorenzo posed a question for Trump to ask the empty chair representing Ron Paul who first declined Trump’s invitation, setting off the spark that blew up the Iowa debate:
Congressman Paul, wouldn’t your agenda of peace, real, free-market capitalism, and free trade with all leave you, as president, with almost nothing to do? Why would anyone vote for a man who simply wants to leave everyone alone to pursue their own interests with government doing nothing but protecting life, liberty, and property? And a defense policy that defends America sounds nice, but then who would be the world’s policeman? Who would make sure that everyone is behaving themselves in Central Africa and the Far East?
And let’s not forget about the “millions of people” who won’t be able to hang onto The Donald’s every word, who will miss another chance to enjoy his prescriptions for the ills that ail the country.