UPDATE: Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann have joined other GOP candidates in passing on the Trump debate, the New York Times reports.
Donald Trump may not be a modest fellow. But will that hamper his ability to moderate a debate scheduled for December 27 among the presidential candidates?
“I was No. 1 in the polls when I left," Trump said, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Trump flirted with the Republican race and dropped out before entering. But a string of contenders for the nomination has paraded to his Manhattan office seeking his endorsement. And only two candidates have had the guts to refuse to go to the debate that Trump is supposed to moderate.
Rep. Ron Paul criticized his fellow candidates for making pilgrimages to Trump’s lair to get his blessing. “I don’t quite understand the marching to his office,” said Paul, according to the Daily News. “I didn’t realize he had the ability to lay on hands and anoint people.”
Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman has also rejected the Trump debate.
Trump, the reality tv star, has made a big impression on America by saying: “You’re fired!” or “You’re hired!” Will he do the same in a presidential debate and leave candidates shaking in their boots?
Among the Trumpisms uttered over the years, are these chestnuts : “I could never have imagined that firing 67 people on national television would actually make me more popular, especially with the younger generation,” he said according to People magazine.
From Time Magazine,1989: ”A little more moderation would be good. Of course my life hasn’t exactly been one of moderation.”
When Trump dropped out, he said: “I maintain the strong conviction that if I were to run, I would be able to win the primary and, ultimately, the general election…..Ultimately, however, business is my greatest passion and I am not ready to leave the private sector.”
It could be argued that his greatest passion is himself.
I asked Larry Sabato, a professor at the University of Virginia, how he felt about Trump’s qualifications as a moderator. He laughed. “We live in a world where celebrity seems to, forgive the expression, trump everything. By getting Trump as moderator of their debate, the Newsmax sponsors knew they were getting the candidates to participate and the media to cover it. He’ll ask a lot of questions and interrupt a lot. Perhaps we’ll get some insight into the candidates’ real selves.”
The eminent American historian Kenneth Jackson told me: “I’m not a fan of his. But, maybe, his personality, his directness might produce some answers that get below the surface.”
Jackson is weary of the never-ending cycle of debates and the programmed answers. He hopes that, somehow, we’ll get deeper insight into what the candidates can achieve. But he’s not optimistic that Trump is the man to achieve that goal.
The Iowa caucuses are just a month away. Trump is ready for his moderator role in the late December debate but he ‘s also ready to lead a third party if the economy doesn’t greatly improve and gridlock continues in Washington, according to the Wall Street Journal.
After his role on “The Celebrity Apprentice” ends next spring, Trump, it’s speculated, could run as an independent. Wall Street Journal reporter Patrick O’Connor writes: “Mr. Trump possesses the two things an independent candidate needs to wage a serious bid” and he quotes Trump.
The real estate mogul says: “You need a big name and you need big money and guess who’s got that?”
Trump has one quality any New Yorker can appreciate. It’s chutzpah -- the gall to always claim to be the brightest star in the firmament.