Donald Trump backs out of debate with Bernie Sanders
Donald Trump will not participate in a debate with Sen.Bernie Sanders, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee said in a statement Friday.
"Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged and Crooked Hillary Clinton and Deborah Wasserman Schultz will not allow Bernie Sanders to win, and now that I am the presumptive Republican nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher," Trump said. "Likewise, the networks want to make a killing on these events and are not proving to be too generous to charitable causes, in this case, women’s health issues. Therefore, as much as I want to debate Bernie Sanders - and it would be an easy payday - I will wait to debate the first place finisher in the Democratic Party, probably Crooked Hillary Clinton, or whoever it may be."
Trump told late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel earlier this week he would participate in a debate with Sanders, who is seeking the Democratic nomination, if the host network would donate millions of dollars to a charity. According to a source within the Sanders campaign, nearly every major television news network reached out to multiple members of the campaign staff in hopes of hosting the debate.
Minutes before Trump's statement, Sanders' campaign manager said two broadcast networks offered to make a major contribution to charity in order to host the debate.
"Our campaign and the Trump campaign have received two offers by broadcast television networks to host the Sanders-Trump debate that we suggested. Both offers include a major contribution to charity," Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver said in a statement Friday. "We are prepared to accept one of those offers and look forward to working with the Trump campaign to develop a time, place and format that is mutually agreeable. Given that the California primary is on June 7, it is imperative that this all comes together as soon as possible. We look forward to a substantive debate that will contrast the very different visions that Sen. Sanders and Mr. Trump have for the future of our country."