1:07pm PT by Michael O'Connell
Donald Trump Scolds Michele Bachmann as Debate Implodes, Teases Return to Presidential Race
The familiar cluster of podiums will not be present at Donald Trump's Dec. 27 G.O.P. debate for conservative website Newsmax. Two weeks shy of the event, Michele Bachmann joins the crowd of candidates who've circled "Decline" on their R.S.V.P.
Bachmann follows Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul, who have all previously announced they're taking a pass, leaving just Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum on the program.
PHOTOS: 10 Hollywood Players That Will Make a Difference in the 2012 Elections
Trump called into Don Imus' Fox Business Network show on Friday to discuss the future of his debate.
“You know who I’m very disappointed in? Michele Bachmann," Trump said. "She’s come up to see me four times. Four times. She’d call me, she’d ask me for advice, she said I should be her Vice Presidential… you know… if she wins, she’d like to think about me for the Vice Presidency, all of these things."
Given the snub, Trump says his eggs are currently in Gingrich's basket.
"He had the courage to immediately say yes," Trump explained. "[But] if the Republicans pick the wrong candidate, I'm going to run as an independent."
Yes, Trump remains hesitant to fully remove his hat from the ring.
"As long as that show runs, I'm not allowed to run," he says, speaking of the upcoming season of NBC's The Apprentice. "The finale is on May 16, and after that I can do whatever I want to do."
The Equal Time rule's conflict with his obligation to the series prompted him to drop out of the race in May, but he said he's still troubled by the issue.
"It's a very unfair rule," he said to Imus. "[President Barack] Obama can go on Jay Leno. He can go on every show there is, but I can't have a show."