Donald Trump appeared on Fox News “The O’Reilly Factor” on Monday and nearly forgot that Republican presidential candidate former Senator Rick Santorum was the other candidate besides former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich who accepted the invitation to the Newsmax sponsored debate that Mr. Trump is moderating on December 27. Below is the transcript to the conversation Mr. Trump had with FNC host Bill O’Reilly. (transcript begins at 4:40 in)
BILL O’REILLY: Are you going to show up to this debate? Is this going to happen?
DONALD TRUMP: Well I am going to show up and maybe we’ll just have a chat. We might just discuss the world. We might just discuss it with ourselves. I’ve got a lot of respect for Newt, because he came in and said, ‘You know, I’ll do it immediately’, he said. And I must say I’m disappointed with Mitt Romney, because he’s been up to Trump Tower. We have a great relationship. I think he’s a nice guy and I was shocked he didn’t do the debate…
O’REILLY: Maybe he’s just tired. There’s been 3200 debates. He might be sick of it. I don’t think its about you. Do you?
TRUMP: You can’t be too tired at this point.We’re coming down to the end of the line. This is no time to be tired. I think he really should have done this debate. I think it will have tremendous viewing. I would say maybe we’ll just do a chat. Newt and I will talk about what has to be done.
O’REILLY: And you’re going to ignore Santorum?? You’re gonna say, ‘Hey get outta’ here.’
TRUMP: He’ll be there.
O’REILLY: (laughing) He’ll be there…
TRUMP: You know what? He’s not doing great in the polls, but he did accept.
O’REILLY: But he’s nice enough to show up you have to ask him a few questions.
TRUMP: And he’s been very nice and very gracious and I would absolutely have him there.
Santorum recently defended Trump and his (Santorum’s) decision to participate in the Newsmax debate:
“Many of my opponents jockeyed to be the first to fly up to New York and use Donald Trump for a photo op and no doubt try and secure an endorsement. But when Donald wants to moderate a debate – they refuse to attend. That’s what’s so wrong with politics today – hypocrisy,” Santorum said in a statement released Thursday.
I am waiting on the Santorum campaign for a response to Trump’s remarks on O’Reilly this evening.