Trump: Low-ranking candidates should drop out
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Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpMost Americans break with Trump on Ukraine, but just 45 percent think he should be removed: poll Judge orders Democrats to give notice if they request Trump's NY tax returns Trump's doctor issues letter addressing 'speculation' about visit to Walter Reed MORE, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, says in a new interview that it's time for low-polling candidates to drop out of the race.


"You have people who were supposed to be really good and they're down to 1 point or they're down to 2 points, and some are down to nothing," Trump told USA Today.

"To be honest with you, I don't know why they keep running. Perhaps they think it's good for the brand but I don't think it's good for their brand, personally. I think they should get out. I could name a few, but I won't do that because I'm a nice person," Trump said.

The celebrity real estate tycoon, who has led in national polls for the past three months, made his remarks on the night CNBC finalized the field for the third debate next week in Colorado.

Trump, who will remain in the middle of the stage during the prime-time debate, will be joined by nine other top-tier candidates including retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioMcConnell urges Trump to voice support for Hong Kong protesters GOP senator introduces bill to limit flow of US data to China GOP senators plan to tune out impeachment week MORE (R-Fla.).

Trump suggested in his interview with USA Today that those candidates who did not average at least 3 percent in recent national polls to qualify for the main debate should drop out.

"I think it's an embarrassment to the party when [Louisiana Gov.] Bobby Jindal gets up on stage and when [former New York Gov. George] Pataki, who has zero," Trump said.

"You look at [South Carolina Sen.] Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamHillicon Valley: Commerce extends Huawei waiver | Senate Dems unveil privacy bill priorities | House funding measure extends surveillance program | Trump to tour Apple factory | GOP bill would restrict US data going to China Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Stopgap spending bill includes military pay raise | Schumer presses Pentagon to protect impeachment witnesses | US ends civil-nuclear waiver in Iran Cruz, Graham and Cheney call on Trump to end all nuclear waivers for Iran MORE; it's very sad. Lindsey Graham, he's a sitting senator, he's at zero. And you have a number of zeros and I would think they should get on with their life and go back home."

Jindal, Pataki, Graham and former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.) will all appear during the undercard debate next week since they polled above 1 percent but below the 2.5 percent threshold for the main stage. Former Gov. Jim Gilmore (Va.) did not qualify for the debate for a second time.