Is Trump Chicken By Not Debating Sanders?

Is Donald Trump running from Bernie Sanders?

The proposed dream debate between Donald Trump, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, tentatively set for Monday June 6th was called off before the final details were worked out. Friday Trump called things off on Friday via a statement. This whole idea of a debate started Wednesday night during an appearance on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live. Trump told Kimmel. Trump, “I would love” to debate Sen. Bernie Sanders for charity. Shortly thereafter, the Sanders campaign agreed via tweet.

But then members of the Trump team told CBS News that the GOP presidential nominee, was “kidding” when he said on national television that he would love to do this exciting thing for charity.

Trump’s issued this statement later in the afternoon on Friday: “Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged and Crooked Hillary Clinton and 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. “Likewise, the networks want to make a killing on these events and are not proving to be too generous to charitable causes, in this case, women’s health issues. 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.”


However, News Talk Florida was told by people with knowledge of the talks between the Trump camp, the Sanders camp and the networks that money was not the issue. At least two networks were willing to meet Trumps demand and write a check for $10 million, that as to have gone to un specified women’s charities.

News Talk Florida was also able to confirm that a number of venues in the Los Angeles area were very interesting in hosting what would have been and epic political event. The ratings would have been Super Bowl like, with a large number of normally not political viewers watching the event.

‘I hope that he changes his mind – again,” Sanders snarked for TV cameras and reporters at a campaign stop Friday afternoon. “Mr. Trump is known to change his mind many times in a day. And Trump goes around – he’s a bully, he’s a big tough guy!”

“Well, Mr. Trump, what are you afraid of?” Sander said, looking at the cameras and adding his trademark finger point.

If you guessed #ChickenTrump would start trending not long thereafter, you would have won.

He should’ve done it, he missed a real chance to do harm to Clinton long before they would meet in the fall.  He backed out not only on a chance to provide entertainment to the masses and money for charity, or to keep his word.

No question there plus and minuses to the debate. If he has a bad debate against Sanders, it would still heighten tensions within the Democratic Party at a point when they’re already running pretty high. If he has a good debate against Bernie Sanders, then he has a good debate against Bernie Sanders.

But what if Trump had a good debate against Sanders?

New Hampshire primary: Trump, Sanders win

Yes, it’s possible Trump could have a good debate. Consider the dozen presidential debates he’s already participated in this cycle that appeared disastrous, given how each moment exposed his utter unpreparedness for the presidency, but for whatever strange anti-reasons only helped him. Debating with an eye toward the general and before a general electorate would be a different story. But one could imagine him just mocking Bernie as “Professor Whacko” or whatever for two hours and getting away with it, in his trademark way of getting away with things.

Should Trump be given to tactics beyond name-calling his opponent, he’d have a strong one at his ready: squeezing Sanders on Clinton. As he has already been doing, Trump could echo some of Sanders’ (mostly unpersuasive) complaints about the primary process: that a corporate-controlled Democratic establishment and its ringleader Hillary Clinton have rigged the process, making it impossible for Sanders to win.

He could echo all of Sanders’ complaints about how Clinton is owned by Goldman Sachs. What does Sanders say to these things? Does he … agree with Donald Trump? Or does he defend Hillary Clinton against variations of the arguments he himself has made while he’s still trying to beat her in California?


The other possibility is that Sanders could trounce Trump, refuting just about everything he says and pointing out what an awful human being he is. That might temporarily embarrass Trump. But Trump isn’t going to be running in the general election against Sanders. The best outcome for Sanders, here, would be that he puts on enough of a show against Trump to catapult him to a come-from-behind victory in the California primary.

A Sanders win in California would be a godsend for the Republican Party. It would not net him enough delegates to win the nomination. It would give him a reason to not concede to Clinton, spend the first half of the summer persuading superdelegates to come to his side, and turn the convention into a confrontational affair.

Trump blew being part of the biggest political event of a lifetime.




Jim Williams is the Washington Bureau Chief, Digital Director as well as the Director of Special Projects for Genesis Communications. He is starting his third year as part of the team. This is Williams 40th year in the media business, and in that time he has served in a number of capacities. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and executive. He has developed four regional sports networks, directed over 2,000 live sporting events including basketball, football, baseball hockey, soccer and even polo to name a few sports. Major events include three Olympic Games, two World Cups, two World Series, six NBA Playoffs, four Stanley Cup Playoffs, four NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournaments (March Madness), two Super Bowl and over a dozen college bowl games. On the entertainment side Williams was involved s and directed over 500 concerts for Showtime, Pay Per View and MTV Networks.