Trump backs out of debate with Bernie Sanders

Washington: Republican Party’s likely presidential nominee Donald Trump has backed out of participating in a debate with Democrat hopeful Bernie Sanders.

In a statement on Friday, Trump slammed Sanders, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton and the Democratic nominating process, and said that debating the Vermont senator would be “inappropriate”, Politico reported.

Trump told late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel earlier this week that he would participate in a debate with Sanders, if the host network would donate millions of dollars to a charity.

“Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged and Crooked Hillary Clinton and (politician) 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 in the sattement.

“Likewise, the networks want to make a killing on these events and are not proving to be too generous to charitable causes. 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.”

Sanders’ camp responded to the statement and accused Trump of flip-flopping on a “clash of ideas”.

Sanders campaign spokesman Michael Briggs said: “In recent days, Donald Trump has said he wants to debate, he doesn’t want to debate, he wants to debate and, now, he doesn’t want to debate.”

“The American people should be able to see it up front in a good debate and a clash of ideas,” he added.