The Apprentice hack host Donald Trump grabbed still more publicity for himself today by announcing that he is pulling out as moderator of a planned debate between GOP presidential candidates that had been set for December 27 on ION Television. After the real estate mogul and reality TV star was set for the debate, which is being put on by the conservative news site Newsmax, most of the Republican candidates became concerned that the event would turn into a media circus — partly because of Trump’s celebrity but mostly because he is still openly pondering a third-party candidacy himself. Only Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich¬†said they would participate. In a statement today, Trump threw more fuel on the fire about a potential run as an independent because he’s trying to drum up¬†headlines for himself and his new Apprentice season:

“It is very important to me that the right Republican candidate be chosen to defeat the failed and very destructive Obama Administration, but if that Republican, in my opinion, is not the right candidate, I am not willing to give up my right to run as an Independent candidate,” he said. “Therefore, so that there is no conflict of interest within the Republican Party, I have decided not to be the moderator of the Newsmax debate.”