Donald Trump Says He’ll Debate Bernie Sanders for “Women’s Health Issues”

But only if somebody ponies up $10 to $15 million.

Ever on a magnanimous streak, Donald Trump told reporters on Thursday afternoon that he “would love to debate” Bernie Sanders, but would only do so if the televised broadcast could raise $10 to $15 million for a charity. The GOP presumptive nominee, who on the same day seized enough delegates to clinch the Republican nomination, said that the charity would “maybe” be “women’s health.”

The idea of a debate between Trump and Sanders, who remains significantly behind Hillary Clinton in the Democratic delegate count, first came up on Wednesday night when Trump appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and the host asked if he would consider a face-off with the Vermont senator.”We would have such high ratings and I think that I should take that money and give it to some worthy charity,” Trump said.

In response, Sanders tweeted that he was up for such a debate:


Immediately, the political-media world began drooling. But on Thursday morning, Trump campaign sources were telling reporters that the tycoon had only been joking. A Trump-Sanders showdown seemed to be a non-starter. Still, Jeff Weaver, Sanders’ campaign manager, said on MSNBC that his campaign had been in touch with Trump’s crew about a possible debate.

So with this afternoon press conference, Trump revived the notion. And one question now is whether Sanders will take the bait and really join with Trump to raise money for “women’s health,” whatever that might mean. (Trump did not specify.) Such an action would hardly help Clinton, who has declined to debate Sanders a final time prior to the upcoming California primary. (By the way, Trump’s record of keeping his word about charitable donations isn’t too strong.)

Also at the Thursday press conference, Trump was asked whether he expected to keep facing questions regarding his attitude toward women. He tried to brush the issue aside, claiming a recent New York Times story on the matter was “totally discredited.” But when a question concerning Sen. Elizabeth Warren was raised, the mogul took what might be considered a sexist swipe. He derided Warren—who has been on the offensive against Trump in speeches and on social media, frequently referring to Trump’s poor relationship with women—and claimed she was not effective. He added that her only notable accomplishment was having “a big mouth.”


The more we thought about how MoJo's journalism can have the most impact heading into the 2020 election, the more we realized that so many of today's stories come down to corruption: democracy and the rule of law being undermined by the wealthy and powerful for their own gain.

So we're launching a new Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption. We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We'll publish what we find as a major series in the summer of 2020, including a special issue of our magazine, a dedicated online portal, and video and podcast series so it doesn't get lost in the daily deluge of breaking news.

It's unlike anything we've done before and we've got seed funding to get started, but we're asking readers to help crowdfund this new beat with an additional $500,000 so we can go even bigger. You can read why we're taking this approach and what we want to accomplish in "Corruption Isn't Just Another Scandal. It's the Rot Beneath All of Them," and if you like how it sounds, please help fund it with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.