Donald Trump said Thursday that he would “love to” debate Bernie Sanders, a day after discussing the prospects of a debate with the Democratic insurgent on a late night talk show.
Trump laid out his conditions for a potential debate with Sanders, saying he would want it to raise “$10 million or $15 million for charity,” including women’s health issues, adding he would want to do it in a large arena. Trump’s high bar for the debate make such a meeting before the California primary highly unlikely, but Trump sees it as a win-win proposition, as it puts likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in a bind. Clinton declined earlier this week to debate Sanders before the June 7 vote.
A Trump aide initially dismissed the candidate’s openness to the debate as a joke, but the candidate again entertained the prospect after this article was published.
Trump said Wednesday night on the Jimmy Kimmel Live! that he was prepared to debate Sanders. The Vermont senator responded with an affirmative. It seemed, for a moment like the matchup could happen.
"Game on. I look forward to debating Donald Trump in California before the June 7 primary," Sanders said on Twitter.
"If I debated him we would have such high ratings,” Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, said of the potential debate. Trump also told Kimmel he would only debate for a price and if the money would go to “some worthy charity."
Sanders has railed against Trump for months, accusing him of inciting bigotry and insulting Americans. In an extended interview with TIME for this week's cover story, he spoke about Trump's influence: "Donald Trump [is] a dangerous person, a person who has insulted tens of millions of people in this country through outrageous statements about Latinos, and Muslims or women or veterans or African Americans—he was a leader of the so-called birther movement, who wants to give hundreds of billions of dollars of tax breaks to the top two-tenths of one percent, a man who thinks climate change is a hoax."
Trump, who has bragged about his debate prowess, is preparing for a fall campaign against Hillary Clinton. He has called Sanders "crazy" but also encouraged him to run as an Independent and agreed with his opposition to trade agreements.
They disagree, however on most everything else. Which would have made for an entertaining debate.
-With reporting by Zeke Miller