The latest news out of GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul’s camp is that he will not be attending the Donald Trump-moderated Newsmax debate on Dec. 27 in Iowa.

Paul’s National Campaign Chairman Jesse Benton released a scathing statement to accompany the Congressman’s rejection.

Benton attacked Trump for not taking the office of the U.S. presidency seriously enough. 

Earlier in 2011, Trump announced his presidential run for the nomination on the Republican ticket. For a brief while, he led in polls. He notably demanded that President Obama show his birth certificate, stated he would impose a tariff on China and floated the idea of taking oil from Iraq.

Trump ultimately canceled his run in May.  Many believed that Trump was never serious in the first place and that he used the presidential run as a publicity stunt for his show “The Apprentice.” Even top Republican commentator Karl Rove called Trump a “joke candidate.”

Benton was angered by the fact that Trump, in his opinion, had “a record of toying with the serious decision” of running for president and making that decision “frivolously.”

He also said it was inappropriate for Trump to cancel (at the last minute) his keynote appearance at the Republican Party of Iowa’s annual Reagan Dinner last spring. 

Benton said Trump’s participation in the debate as a moderator will “contribute to an unwanted circus-like atmosphere” and distract from serious discussion.

“Our candidate will not even consider participating in the late-December debate until Mr. Trump publicly apologizes to Iowa party leaders and rectifies in full the situation,” said Benton.