Alas, the great Trump–Sanders Debate of 2016 is not meant to be.
First, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said he would debate Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders before the June 7 California primaries, after Hillary Clinton declined to debate her fellow Democratic candidate.
Then, Trump said he was only kidding about taking the stage with Sanders, and on Friday, the New York businessman attempted to put an end to the speculation over the debate by issuing this statement.
Trump says he WILL NOT debate Bernie: " it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher" pic.twitter.com/EhUgIx2Nt5
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) May 27, 2016
Trump originally claimed he’d engage with Sanders during an interview with Jimmy Kimmel, saying, “If I debated him, we would have such high ratings, and I think I should take that money and give it to some worthy charity. If he paid a nice sum toward a charity, I would love to do that.”
That led to this tweet from the giddy Sanders.
Game on. I look forward to debating Donald Trump in California before the June 7 primary.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) May 26, 2016
But almost immediately, Trump began to backtrack. Sanders’s campaign tried to keep up the pressure Friday, issuing a statement that read:
“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.
“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.”
Unfortunately for Sanders, his fans, the networks who would have liked to have hosted it (reportedly CBS and ABC), and those who actually don’t understand the different visions of Sanders and Trump, there will be no debate after all. Unless…
NEW -Bernie Sanders responds to Trump's statement re: debate: 'I hope that he changes his mind. … Mr. Trump is known to change his mind.'
— Kurtis Lee (@kurtisalee) May 27, 2016