Even before the plans were announced, some were predicting that a proposed debate on Fox News between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton was never going to happen; after all, Clinton had nothing to gain politically, so why bother to honor her agreement to one last debate before the California Democratic primary?
Sure enough, the Clinton campaign declined Fox News’ invitation, with the excuse that Clinton was much too busy fighting off the threat of a Donald Trump presidency. Naturally, the Sanders camp quickly expressed its disappointment, while warning Clinton to be “not quite so presumptuous” about her coronation.
I am disappointed but not surprised by Secretary Clinton’s unwillingness to debate before the largest primary. https://t.co/tQPIWppgEM
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) May 24, 2016
Sanders: "Secretary Clinton may want to be not quite so presumptuous about thinking that she is a certain winner." https://t.co/NyTeMb5mFq
— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) May 24, 2016
Sanders issued a statement via his website which reads, in part:
Democracy, and respect for the voters of California, would suggest that there should be a vigorous debate in which the voters may determine whose ideas they support. I hope Secretary Clinton reconsiders her unfortunate decision to back away from her commitment to debate.
I also would suggest that Secretary Clinton may want to be not quite so presumptuous about thinking that she is a certain winner. In the last several weeks, the people of Indiana, West Virginia and Oregon have suggested otherwise.
Presumptuous? Without mentioning the debate invitation, Clinton told CNN last week that the primary contest was “already done.”
Clinton really driving home the point on CNN that she is the Dem nominee: "There is no way that I won't be," she says.
— Christopher Massie (@chrismassie) May 19, 2016
Aren’t the Republicans the ones struggling to unite their party?
— The Democrats (@TheDemocrats) May 23, 2016
Clinton might have nothing to lose from her backers, but she isn’t doing much to reach out to Sanders supporters who may very well stay home or vote Republican just to teach her to be not quite so presumptuous.
HRC isn’t doing debate bc there’s no reason for her to do it… Yet how many people will claim she's a) scared of Bernie b) scared of Fox?
— Dylan Byers (@DylanByers) May 23, 2016
@DylanByers If it's not A or B, then why not do it?
— Toddy Douglas (@ToddDoug) May 23, 2016
— Jack Christensen (@JackHokie) May 23, 2016
She's the nominee. End stop. This debate stunt by Bernie is the same crap GOP has pulled w/Obama: trying to delegitimize her. #ImWithHer
— Loren Moreno (@loren__arthur) May 24, 2016
It’s almost as bad a stunt as that negative ad that Sanders ran against his opponent, leading the Clinton campaign to demand that he change his tone as a condition of any further debates. How dare he?
— Jhawn Gilbert (@GilWhitesid) May 23, 2016
If Sanders wants to decline apologizing for his supporters behavior then dammit Hillary Is right for Declining the debate!!! #ImWithHer
— Amene (@Ange_Amene) May 24, 2016
— Dem Liberals (@demliberalways) May 24, 2016
Breathes there any sentient being who believes Sanders would offer anything new in any additional debate? #ImWithHer
— Zanti Misfit (@ZantiMisft) May 23, 2016
— Bonnie Hare (@BJHare) May 23, 2016
— Carl Silva (@CSilva44) May 24, 2016
As President Obama might say: if Clinton can’t handle a debate with Crazy Bernie, don’t think the Chinese and the Russians are going to be too worried about her.
— #CaliBernication (@TheCyancynic) May 24, 2016
— #BERNIEFACTS (@Bernie_Facts) May 23, 2016