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:
Game on. I look forward to debating Donald Trump in California before the June 7 primary.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) May 26, 2016
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.”