Fresh off of Donald Trump’s refusal to debate Bernie Sanders, the self-described democratic socialist told HBO’s Bill Maher that he “would have loved” to debate him.
Appearing on Maher’s Real Time, Sanders was responding to news reports — since squelched by Trump — that the two would have a debate prior to the June 7 Republican and Democratic primaries in California.
When Maher brought it up, Sanders groaned in frustration, clenching his fists, then said, “I would have loved…” before the studio audience’s cheering cut him off.
“And Mr. Macho chickened out,” Maher said.
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Sanders replied, “First he said he would do it, then he said he wouldn’t do it. Then he said he would do, then he said he wouldn’t do it,” to the laughter of the audience.
“So I hope that if he changed his mind in four days, change it a fifth time. You know, Trump claims to be a really tough guy, pushes people around.”
Sanders then turned his attention to the camera and said, “Hey Donald, let’s have a debate about the future of America.”
Donald Trump declines Bernie Sanders debate: "It seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher" pic.twitter.com/lCeGmay8pw
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) May 27, 2016
“A lot of us,” Maher replied, “myself included, have supported you, even if you’re not the nominee, we would like to see what a clear choice would look like. Now, I would like it in the election. But minus the election, I would at least like to see it in the debate.”
He added that when the Republicans were debating among themselves, “they live in the bubble, okay, where global warming doesn’t exist, and where President Obama doesn’t exist…”
Sanders then interjected, “Oh, he exists!”
— Slate (@Slate) May 28, 2016
He then accused Republicans of trying to “obstruct everything” Obama has tried to do during his presidency.
Bernie Sanders: Better Than Clinton In Head-To-Head Match-Ups Against Trump
Maher pointed out that while Sanders has 46 percent of the Democratic delegates thus far, he continues to beat Donald Trump in head-to-head match-ups by larger margins than Hillary Clinton, the current Democratic frontrunner.
According to the Real Clear Politics average of polls, Sanders beats Trump by an average of 10.8 percent, and by as much as 15 percent in one poll, while Clinton beats Trump by an average of 1 percent.
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) May 28, 2016
Given this disparity, Maher asked Sanders, “What is the tipping point where delegates actually go, ‘Oh, you know what,’ because they want a winner… where they would say, ‘You know what, we are backing the wrong horse.'”
“Well, here’s the weird thing about this process,” Sanders said. “400 or more superdelegates supported Hillary Clinton, came out… before the first ballot was cast… A lot has happened since that point.
“And what every person at the Democratic Convention wants to do is to make sure that Donald Trump never becomes president of the United States of America.”
Sanders stated that the delegates, “even if they have supported Clinton from day one,” are going to have to reflect that if he, Bernie Sanders, is beating Trump by wider margins — not just in national polls, but also in individual states, he pointed out — and if their goal is really to defeat Donald Trump, “then that is something they’re going to have to deal with.”
According to the Real Clear Politics count, Clinton is beating Sanders, 2,310-1,542, in the delegate race. However, her lead is greatly enhanced by the superdelegates, among whom she leads 541-43.
What do you think? Would you like to see Bernie Sanders debate Donald Trump?
[Photo by David McNew/Getty Images]