Sanders Campaign Manager: We Hope Trump Doesn’t ‘Chicken Out’ on Debate
Bernie Sanders’ campaign manager said Thursday he hopes Donald Trump does not “chicken out” after the two talked about the possibility of a one-on-one debate, but the presumptive GOP front-runner said he’d “love to debate Bernie.”
“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 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.”
Trump made it clear Thursday that he wants to follow through with the debate.
“I’d love to debate Bernie. He’s a dream,” he said in Bismarck, North Dakota. “If we can raise for maybe women’s health issues or something. If we can raise $10 or $15 million for charity, which would be a very appropriate amount.”
“I understand the television business very well. I think it would get high ratings,” Trump added.
The Republican nominee said his team has been in conversations with several networks about hosting the debate.
“It should be in a big arena somewhere. And we can have a lot of fun with it. I’d love to debate Bernie” he said. “The problem with debating Bernie is he’s going to lose. Because honestly his system is rigged. Just like our system is rigged.”
Trump had previously said he’d “love to.” Appearing on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” Wednesday night, Trump said he would be willing to spar with Sanders in lieu of likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, joking, “How much is he going to pay me?”
Trump said he wanted proceeds of such an event to go to charity.
“That could happen, I’ve been saying that should happen anyway,” he added. “If he paid a nice sum for charity, I would love to do that.”
Minutes later, Sanders responded on Twitter.
“Game on,” Sanders wrote. “I look forward to debating Donald Trump in California before the June 7 primary.”
Michael Briggs, a Sanders spokesman, said that Kimmel allowed the Sanders campaign to submit a question to Trump to be asked during the taping — so they asked about a potential debate.
Briggs says that he expects that Trump will also be allowed submit a question for the senator to answer when Sanders tapes Kimmel Thursday night.