Donald Trump told The Washington Post on Thursday that he would participate in the next GOP presidential debate on Dec. 15, after dangling the prospect of sitting it out unless CNN paid $5 million to a veterans charity.
“When you’re leading in the polls, I think it’s too big of a risk to not do the debate,” Trump said in an interview with the paper.“I don’t think I have the kind of leverage I’d like to have in a deal, and I don’t want to take the chance of hurting my campaign. So, I’ll do the debate.”
Earlier this week, Trump told a rally in Macon, Ga. that he was thinking of telling CNN that he “won’t do the debate unless they pay me $5 million, all of which goes to Wounded Warriors or goes to vets. I would love to do that.”
On Thursday, CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker said that they “do not pay candidates” to appear on the network, rejecting Trump’s threat. His remarks came at a Q&A sponsored by Paley Center for Media.
The next debate will be at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas and telecast by CNN. Wolf Blitzer will moderate, with Dana Bash and Salem talk radio host Hugh Hewitt as questioners.