Running out of cash in the days running up to the California Democratic primary on June 7th, Sen. Bernie Sanders threw a 'hail Mary' in his attempt to debate GOP nominee Donald Trump.
Trump appeared to take the bait at the time, but later said he was joking.
But Sanders has run full steam ahead hoping for the exposure in lieu of buying expensive TV time in California.
Trump finally put the idea to rest today with this statement:
“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.”
Moments before Trump's statement was released, Sanders' campaign team told the media that ABC and CBS had offered to make multi-million dollar donations to get the right to air the proposed debate. ABC later confirmed that, but CBS says they made no commitments regarding charitable donation.
Additionally, technology company Traction and Scale offered $10 million to help make the debate happen.
I think most folks never believed Trump would really debate with Bernie.