Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus spoke out Thursday against an upcoming GOP presidential debate to be moderated by Donald Trump, saying it would be “malpractice” for him as the leader of the party not to think the debate was problematic.
“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. “I think that would be malpractice for me as an RNC chairman to not believe that that is an issue.”
Although Priebus repeated a previously made assertion that it was simply up to the candidates to “do whatever they want to do,” the RNC head repeated that Trump’s continued flirtation with a potential 2012 bid for the White House concerned him.
“I think that having a successful businessman serving as a moderator has a lot of volume. But, the issue here is whether the moderator should still be a person who’s still batting around the idea of running as an independent. I think that should give some of these candidates some concern,” he said.
A number of Republican voices have also raised their eyebrows about the debate, including Sen. John McCain and strategist Karl Rove, who recently suggested that Priebus step in and “discourage” the candidates from appearing at the debate.
The Dec. 27 debate will be moderated by Trump and is sponsored by Newsmax and ION Television. So far, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have agreed to participate, while Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul said they would pass. Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry haven’t announced yet whether they will attend the event.
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