Although Hillary Clinton refused to debate Sen. Bernie Sanders before the California primary next month, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump recently agreed to debate Sanders while appearing Wednesday night on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” In response to Trump’s answer, Sanders’ campaign issued a statement publicly accepting the challenge while hoping that Trump does not “chicken out” of the debate.
During an interview with Trump on Wednesday, Kimmel read a question posed by Sanders to the Republican candidate. Kimmel said, “Here’s the question from Bernie. He asked, ‘Hillary Clinton backed out of an agreement to debate me in California before the June 7th primary. Are you prepared to debate the major issues facing our largest state and the country before the California primary: yes or no?”
“Yes, I am,” Trump responded. “How much is he going to pay me?”
“You would do it for a price?” Kimmel stammered in astonishment. “What would the price be?”
Instead of answering the question, Trump corrected his wayward course by claiming that all the proceeds for the debate should go to charity.
“If he paid a nice sum toward a charity, I would love to do that,” Trump stipulated.
“Oh, interesting,” Kimmel continued. “What if the network put up the money and then you guys—”
“That could happen also,” Trump interrupted him.
Following Trump’s interview with Kimmel, Sanders took to Twitter on Wednesday night and wrote, “Game on. I look forward to debating Donald Trump in California before the June 7 primary.”
“We are ready to debate Donald Trump. We hope he will not chicken out. I think it will be great for America to see these two candidates and the different visions they have for America going forward,” Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Thursday. “What we’ll have to see, Wolf, is does Donald Trump have the courage to get on the stage with Bernie Sanders? That remains to be seen.”
“I’d love to debate Bernie. He’s a dream,” Trump reiterated on Thursday in Bismark, North Dakota. “I understand the television business very well. I think it would get high ratings.”
Over the past several months Sanders has admitted that his presidential campaign is itching to go head-to-head against Trump. Given Trump’s open bigotry and economic views, Sanders appears confident challenging the former host of NBC’s “The Apprentice” in single combat before the California primary.