It looks like former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum will be the only candidates joining Donald Trump for the reality television star’s presidential debate.
Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and Texas Gov. Rick Perry both declined invitations Thursday to the Newsmax debate scheduled for two days after Christmas, ABC News reports. Trump is scheduled to moderate the debate and then announce his endorsement for the candidate he likes the best.
Almost all the candidates have met with Trump in New York in search of his endorsement, but most of the candidates — including former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Texas Rep. Ron Paul and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman — have declined to attend the event. The debate, to be held in Des Moines, Iowa, would take place just six days before the Iowa caucuses.
A Perry spokesman told ABC News that his focus was on “traditional retail campaigning.”