Donald Trump officially declined the opportunity to debate Bernie Sanders ahead of the June 7 California primary, dashing the dreams of voters who were itching for the match-up.
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee said he both didn't want to debate the "second-place finisher" in the Democratic primary, and also cast doubt that the proceeds from the televised event would be donated to charity.
"Now that I am the presumptive Republican nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second-place finisher," Trump said in a statement issued Friday afternoon. "Likewise, the networks want to make a killing on these events and are not proving to be too generous to charitable causes, in this case, women's health issues. Therefore, 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."
Sanders' campaign was itching for a match-up against the billionaire businessman, issuing a statement Friday saying they were ready to accept terms for a debate.
At a rally Thursday in California, Sanders previewed what the debate would look like — which included attacking Trump for his views on everything from income inequality to immigration policy.
Sanders said he was disappointed in Trump's decision.
"Well Mr. Trump what are you afraid of?" Sanders said at a news conference in California, according to NBC News.
Those eagerly awaiting another Trump appearance on a debate stage will now have to wait until Sept. 26, when Trump and likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton will face off at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.