Mitt Romney became the latest big-name candidate to send his regrets, telling Fox News’ Neil Cavuto that he informed Trump earlier on Tuesday that he would be too busy to appear. Romney noted that he already is planning to participate in two previously scheduled debates in Iowa this month.
“I understand why Governor Romney decided not to do it,” Trump told ABC News. He declined to elaborate further.
Other candidates who have declined: Rep. Ron Paul and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman. In an interview on Monday with CNBC’s Larry Kudlow, Huntsman dismissed the Trump debate as a publicity stunt.
Running for president “isn’t about ratings for Donald Trump; this is about jobs for the American people,” Huntsman told Kudlow.
Newly minted front-runner Newt Gingrich has announced he will attend the Trump debate, as has former Sen. Rick Santorum.