Billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump will play the role of moderator at a Republican debate in Des Moines, Iowa on Dec. 27, according to reports published Friday.
The debate, being staged by conservative magazine Newsmax, will be the first ever in presidential-level politics to be run by a reality TV show host, whom President Barack Obama not long ago referred to as a “carnival barker.”
“Our readers and the grass roots really love Trump,” Christopher Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax, told The New York Times. “They may not agree with him on everything, but they don’t see him as owned by the Washington establishment, the media establishment.”
Trump previously teased members of the media for months that he might enter the presidential race as a Republican or third-party candidate, but has since backed off plans and said he’s not running.
The announcement that he would not run came after President Obama embarrassed Trump at the White House Correspondents Dinner in April, shortly after the state of Hawaii released his long-form birth certificate.
Trump had been spent weeks before the dinner whipping up false allegations that Obama had kept his birth certificate under wraps, using the Republican “birther” constituency to bolster his pretend potential candidacy.
“I know he’s taken some flack lately,” Obama said of Trump. “But nobody here is prouder to be putting this birth certificate issue to rest than the Donald. That’s because he can finally get back to focusing the issues that matter, like did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?”
It’s not clear which Republican candidates will be participating in the debate, as invitations were sent out on Friday afternoon.
The video below is from the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner.
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