Donald Trump Pulls Out of NewsMax Debate

Reality star says fear among GOP candidates that he'll re-enter the race is keeping them away from the debate

Donald Trump has pulled out of the NewsMax GOP debate in Iowa that was slated for Dec. 27, releasing a statement on Tuesday that cited his potential presidential run as the reason.

According to the NBC reality star, a number of high-profile candidates have declined to participate in the debate simply because they fear Trump might re-enter the fray.

They're “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concerned that sometime after the final episode of 'The Apprentice,' on May 20th, when the equal time provisions are no longer applicable to me, I will announce my candidacy for President of the United States as an independent,” Trump said.

Trump reiterated the importance of the upcoming election and the need to defeat “the failed and very destructive Obama administration.”

Also Read: Donald Trump Says He Will Run for President  – After 'Apprentice' Wraps

If none of these candidates prove up to the task, Trump will announce his candidacy — but only after “The Apprentice” ends, of course.

Trump thanked Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum for agreeing to take part in the debate, and said that it “would not only have been the most watched debate, but also the most substantive and interesting debate.”

The most-watched debate thus far was Saturday's contest on ABC, and the next one to vie for the crown is Thursday's Fox News debate.