Clinton breaks pledge, refuses California debate with Sanders

One day after former Secretary Hillary Clinton stated she would consider Fox News’ offer to face Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in a debate prior to the Democratic primary in California, the Clinton campaign announced Monday evening they would decline the invitation.

“We have declined Fox News’ invitation to participate in a debate in California. As we have said previously, we plan to compete hard in the remaining primary states, particularly California, while turning our attention to the threat a Donald Trump presidency poses,” read a statement from Clinton campaign communications director Jennifer Palmieri.

The Democratic frontrunner had stated she would consider Fox News’ invitation during a May 22 appearance on Meet the Press.

“You know, I haven’t thought about it. We’ll consider it,” Clinton told NBC’s Chuck Todd on Sunday.

Sanders accepted Fox News’ offer on May 18 and publicly challenged Clinton to honor her February pledge to hold four additional debates, the final meeting tentatively scheduled before the June 7 primary in the Golden State.

A source of contention between the Clinton and Sanders’ campaigns, Mr. Sanders has repeatedly assailed the DNC, chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Clinton for their unwillingness to schedule more debates.

Sanders has often criticized the debate scheduling on evenings and weekends as reducing his exposure to a national audience to Clinton’s advantage.

Both Fox News and Senator Sanders express frustration with Clinton.

“I am disappointed but not surprised by Secretary Clinton’s unwillingness to debate before the largest and most important primary in the presidential nominating process. Democracy, and respect for the voters of California, would suggest that there should be a vigorous debate in which the voters may determine whose ideas they support.  I hope Secretary Clinton reconsiders her unfortunate decision to back away from her commitment to debate.”

“I also would suggest that Secretary Clinton may want to be not quite so presumptuous about thinking that she is a certain winner. In the last several weeks, the people of Indiana, West Virginia and Oregon have suggested otherwise,” Mr. Sanders said in a statement.

Sanders also addressed supporters on Monday at a campaign rally in California about the issue: