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Trump: Controversy surrounding debate 'is a good thing'

"We will get, probably, the highest ratings of any debate that they've had because of this controversy. It's a good thing, it's not a bad thing," said Trump on Fox News Channel's "Fox and Friends" Tuesday.

The debate, hosted by the conservative news organization Newsmax, will be held Dec. 27. The choice of Trump as the moderator has garnered attention and criticism from political pundits and some of the Republican presidential contenders.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman announced last week they would not participate in the forum.

Huntsman blasted the upcoming GOP debate as a "joke" on NBC's "Today" show Tuesday. "I believe that the presidency of the United States of America is beyond reality shows … this is a joke."

Trump dismissed Huntsman's criticism, saying that there are a lot of people that want the debate to take place.

"You read about a Huntsman, who's upset, or Ron Paul, who's never going to win anything, but you don't read about the thousands of people who want it. I mean, most people want it," added Trump on Fox.

Veteran GOP strategist Karl Rove said Monday that the head of the Republican National Committee should step in to "discourage" presidential candidates from attending the debate. "Here's a guy who is saying, 'I'm going to endorse one of you,' " Rove said, criticizing the choice on "Fox & Friends."

Trump slammed Rove's credentials Tuesday, calling him a "political hack."

"Frankly, as far as I'm concerned he's just making the debate … hotter," he added.

Trump also gave some insight into the format of the upcoming debate. He told Fox that he won't spend a lot of time giving instructions and that the candidates will have the opportunity to question each other as well.

"It will be some good entertainment, which I don't want to say, but you still need it, but more importantly, we're going to get some of the issues out that are important," Trump said.