UPDATE 4 — 5/27, 5:52 p.m. EST: Donald Trump says that as much as he’d like to debate Bernie Sanders in California, he is instead going to wait to debate Hillary Clinton.
His decision to abandon the idea comes just hours after tech company Traction offered to pay his requested $10 million appearance fee.
UPDATE 3 — 5/27, 2:51 p.m. EST: Fox News host Bret Baier signaled Thursday evening and in separate comments Friday that negotiations between the Sanders and Trump campaigns and the cable channel for a debate “are continuing and there will be some event in California.”
Baier added that there is “real interest” from all parties involved and that while the details have not been settled, there will be some kind of event either in the form of a “full-blown debate” or a town hall style format.
UPDATE 2 — 5/27, 8:30 a.m. EST: In an interview on MSNBC’s “Meet the Press Daily” on Thursday, Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton weighed in on the anticipated Trump-Sanders debate, saying “I don’t think it’s going to happen.”
“You know, I know they’ve gone back and forth on this, and they seem to be saying it’s some kind of joke. Trump doesn’t sound very serious,” Clinton continued. “But I can tell you, I look forward to debating Donald Trump in the general election. I can’t wait to get on that debate stage with him.”
Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver also told MSNBC on Thursday that “back-channel conversations” are in progress between the two campaigns to work out the details of the event.
UPDATE — 5:02 p.m. EST: At a press conference in North Dakota Thursday, presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump clarified comments made Wednesday night on ABC when he said he was ready for a debate with Bernie Sanders.
“What we’ll do is raise maybe for, maybe women’s health issues or something, if we can raise $10 million or $15 million for charity, which would be a very appropriate amount. I understand the television business very well,” Trump said.
“Bernie’s not going to win, but I would debate him anyway if they wanted to put up money for charity,” he continued. “So we’ll see. We have had a couple of calls from the networks already and we’ll see.”
Shortly after Trump made his remarks, Sanders tweeted the following:
I am delighted that @realDonaldTrump has agreed to debate. Let’s do it in the biggest stadium possible.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) May 26, 2016
A Trump vs Sanders debate may happen California before the Democratic Primary on June 7, with the proceeds of Donald Trump’s appearance fee going to charity.
On Wednesday night, Donald Trump appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live one night before Bernie Sanders was set to make his own appearance on the show.
In the middle of his interview, Kimmel told Trump that Sen. Sanders had asked him to pass along a question.
“Here’s the question from Bernie,” said Kimmel. “Hillary Clinton backed out of an agreement to debate me before the Democratic primary. Are you prepared to debate the major issues facing our largest state and the country before the California primary?”
“Yes, I am,” said Trump. “How much is he going to pay me? If I debated him, we would have such high ratings, I think I should take that money and give it to charity.”
This was a lighthearted back and forth between the presumptive Republican nominee and the late night comedian, but the Sanders camp is dead serious.
Game on. I look forward to debating Donald Trump in California before the June 7 primary.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) 26 May 2016
“He takes Trump at his word that when Trump says yes, Trump means yes,” said Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs. “Details to be worked out.”
Hillary Clinton passed on the opportunity to debate Bernie Sanders in California where she is in a tight race with the Independent Senator.
Clinton has made no comment so far on the possible Trump vs Sanders debate.
[Washington Post] [Politico] [The Hill] [CBS News]