Trump: Low-ranking candidates should drop out
© Getty Images

Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rages against '60 Minutes' for interview with Krebs Cornyn spox: Neera Tanden has 'no chance' of being confirmed as Biden's OMB pick Pa. lawmaker was informed of positive coronavirus test while meeting with Trump: report 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

"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 RubioVoters elected a record number of Black women to Congress this year — none were Republican Biden's Cabinet a battleground for future GOP White House hopefuls The Memo: GOP mulls its future after Trump 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 GrahamIs Trump headed to another campaign or to a courtroom? Biden's Cabinet a battleground for future GOP White House hopefuls Republicans ready to become deficit hawks again under a President Biden 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.