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Donald Trump Declines to Debate Bernie Sanders

From left, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump backed off a promise that he would debate Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders prior to California's Democratic primary election on June 7.

In a statement late Friday, Trump said it "seems inappropriate" for him to debate Sanders since Trump has won his party's primary, and Sanders is still a distant second in his party's race.

"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," Trump said.

Trump and Sanders had previously agreed to a debate on the condition that proceeds – at least $10 million – go to a charity supporting women's health issues.

Trump said several television networks were hesitant to donate the money to charity, though Sanders said he'd spoken with networks that were willing to support the debate.

Sanders responded to the news of Trump's debate rejection by calling him a "bully" and accusing him of being afraid.

“Trump is a bully, he’s a big tough guy. Well, I say to Mr. Trump, what are you afraid of?” Sanders said.

A Real Clear Politics average of polls shows Clinton leading Sanders by almost nine points in the primary contest.

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