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Posted at 03:50 PM ET, 12/02/2011

Donald Trump on his GOP debate: “I hope it does as well as ‘The Apprentice.’” [Video]


Donald Trump (© Alberto Lowe / Reuters - REUTERS)
Real estate mogul and “Celebrity Apprentice” star Donald Trump, who will moderate an upcoming Republican presidential debate, talked to Tamron Hall on MSNBC’s “NewsNation” on Friday afternoon about why he wanted to participate, and his hopes for the debate.

“I was asked to do it by a number of people, including some of my friends that are Republicans, strong Republicans,” Trump said. “I thought it would certainly be a little change of pace for Donald Trump, so I'll do something I haven't done before.”

After he was done referring to himself in the third person, Hall brought up the fact that so far, the candidates have “come off as comedic,” especially given the multiple personal issues that have turned up.

“Are you worried this debate could look like an episode of ‘The Apprentice’?” Hall asked.

“Well I hope it does as well as "The Apprentice,’” Trump responded. “’The Apprentice’” has been an amazing thing.”

Having plugged his NBC reality show, and remembering the question, Trump added, “The fact is you have some very talented people. I think they are tough. I think they are smart. I think they have some good ideas. ..We’ll see how it goes. I will be at some point endorsing somebody.”

Here’s Trump’s full interview:

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The debate, hosted by conservative media outlet Newsmax, will be broadcast Dec. 27 in Iowa on ION Television (the cable network that airs all those “Ghost Whisperer,” “Without a Trace” and “Criminal Minds” reruns).

The New York Times, which first reported the news, said that Newsmax sent the following invitation to candidates on Friday: “We are pleased to cordially invite you to “The Newsmax Ion Television 2012 Presidential Debate,” moderated by a truly great American, Mr. Donald J. Trump.” There’s no word on which candidates will attend, the Times added.

In case you forget, Trump himself entertained the idea of running for president earlier this year. Though in May, he officially announced he would not seek office, while simultaneously referencing “Celebrity Apprentice” at NBC’s new season schedule presentation to advertisers in New York.

“I will not be running for president. See you for a great season,” Trump said.

Soon after the news on Friday, a #donaldtrumpdebatequestions hashtag popped up on Twitter, with many questions “Apprentice” and beauty pageant themed. (Trump also owns the Miss USA and Miss Universe franchises with NBC Universal.)

By  |  03:50 PM ET, 12/02/2011

 
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