WASHINGTON (UPI) — Both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have said they would like to debate one another, an exchange that started during a late night comedy show interview Wednesday and continued back and forth between the two camps Thursday.
The debate question came up first on Jimmy Kimmel Live, when the host asked Trump, who was his guest, a question from Sanders, who is scheduled to appear on the show later this week. Sanders asked Trump whether he would agree to a debate.
Trump said he would, with the stipulation that all money raised would go to charity.
Jeff Weaver, Sanders’ campaign manager, was asked about the possibility of a debate between Trump and Sanders on MSNBC and said the two sides had begun discussing the possibility.
“There’s starting to be some back channel discussions,” Weaver said. “It seems like Donald Trump was serious when he was talking about this. I hope his handlers don’t dissuade him or he doesn’t, sort of, chicken out on this.”
Trump was then asked about Weaver’s response during a press conference Thursday afternoon and confirmed members of the two camps have had initial discussions about a potential debate.
“I’d love to debate Bernie. I said last night on Jimmy’s show, I’d love to debate him, but I’d want to raise a lot of money for charity,” Trump said, saying the figure would need to be between $10 and $15 million.
Trump said he would like to see the money go to benefit women’s health.
“It should be in a big arena somewhere,” Trump continued. “We could have a lot of fun with it. I’d love to debate Bernie. The biggest problem I have is, Bernie is not going to win.”
Weaver was asked by MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell whether he thought Trump was agreeing to debate Sanders because it could potentially harm Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton if Sanders is seen as getting a boost by taking on Trump without her on the stage.
“I don’t think it’s going to hurt Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, whoever becomes the nominee,” Weaver said. “Let’s see if he has the courage to get on a stage with Bernie Sanders and go one-on-one, that will be the real test.
“If Bernie Sanders gets on a stage and exposes that Donald Trump stands for an agenda that will devastate American families, that is reckless, that is geared to help rich people like himself. I think that will help the Democratic Party. I think it will galvanize Democrats,” Weaver said.
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