This article titled “Sanders camp says Trump is ‘chickening out’ of debate – as it happened” was written by Scott Bixby (now) and Tom McCarthy (earlier), for theguardian.com on Friday 27th May 2016 22.03 UTC
Today in Campaign 2016
We get it – your boogie board is packed, your cooler is filled, your interest in minutiae about the race to become the leader of the free world is waning. But before you head out for the three-day weekend, here’s a quick rundown of the biggest news from the campaign trail today:
- Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump officially put the kibosh on the possibility of debating Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders ahead of the California primaries, declaring that it “seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher.”
- “There is a reason why in virtually every national and statewide poll I am defeating Donald Trump, sometimes by very large margins and almost always by far larger margins than Secretary Clinton,” Sanders responded. “There is a reason for that reality and the American people should be able to see it up front in a good debate and a clash of ideas.”
- A once-robust seeming Hillary Clinton lead over rival Sanders in California, which will award 475 Democratic delegates in a 7 June primary, has been whittled to a toothpick, according to a Public Policy Institute of California poll. Clinton leads Sanders by only two points, 46-44, in the poll. The state will award its delegates proportionally. “We are going to win here in California!” Sanders said at a Santa Monica rally this week, described in a recommended Atlantic piece titled “This is how a revolution ends.”
- As he launched his ill-fated presidential run, Marco Rubio decided not to run for re-election to his Florida senate seat, saying that while he liked his job, he believed that it was important to signal his intentions of winning the presidency, without a fallback option. It appears now that Rubio may be reconsidering a reelection run, although he has called the idea “a joke” even as he explores it aloud. Another thing Rubio is no longer kidding about? Supporting Donald Trump.
- Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has declared that he will help alleviate the years-long drought that has stricken California by “opening up the water.”
- “If I win, we’re going to start opening up the water so you can have your farmers survive, so that your job market will get better,” Trump said at a Fresno rally. “We’re going to get it done and we’re going to get it done quick, don’t even think about it, that’s an easy one.” Trump blamed the current drought on environmentalists, who “shove [the water] out to sea” to protect “a certain kind of three-inch fish.”
That’s it for today – enjoy your weekend!
Vermont senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has issued a statement on what his campaign called Donald Trump’s “on-again, off-again” position on an historic bipartisan primary debate:
“In recent days, Donald Trump has said he wants to debate, he doesn’t want to debate, he wants to debate and, now, he doesn’t want to debate,” Sanders said.
“Given that there are several television networks prepared to carry this debate and donate funds to charity, I hope that he changes his mind once again and comes on board.”
“There is a reason why in virtually every national and statewide poll I am defeating Donald Trump, sometimes by very large margins and almost always by far larger margins than Secretary Clinton. There is a reason for that reality and the American people should be able to see it up front in a good debate and a clash of ideas.”
Marco Rubio is feeling a little… touchy about his past #NeverTrump positions.
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has declared that he will help alleviate the years-long drought that has stricken California by “opening up the water.”
“If I win, we’re going to start opening up the water so you can have your farmers survive, so that your job market will get better,” Trump said at a Fresno rally. “We’re going to get it done and we’re going to get it done quick, don’t even think about it, that’s an easy one.”
Trump blamed the current drought on environmentalists, who “shove [the water] out to sea” to protect “a certain kind of three-inch fish.”
“We’re going to solve your water problem. You have a water problem that is so insane. It is so ridiculous where they’re taking the water and shoving it out to sea,” Trump said. “They don’t understand – nobody understands it,” he said, adding that “there is no drought.”
California has been in the grips of its worst drought in 1,200 years.
Donald Trump: I won’t debate Bernie Sanders
Well, that’s that.
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has officially put the kibosh on the possibility of debating Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders ahead of the California primaries, declaring that it “seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher.”
“Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged and Crooked Hillary Clinton and Deborah Wasserman Schultz will not allow Bernie Sanders to win, and now that I am the presumptive Republican nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher,” Trump said in a statement.
“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.”
British prime minister David Cameron said today at the G-7 meeting in Japan that the so-called “special relationship” between the US and the UK will endure even Donald Trump’s election to the presidency.
“I believe in the special relationship,” Camerson said. “I believe the special relationship will work whoever is in whichever jobs in the UK and the US.”
Cameron told reporters that he had no intention of entangling himself in American politics. “I’m not going to get involved at all in the American election,” Cameron said. “It’s a matter for the American people to choose their next president.”
The statement comes after a week that saw a strained relationship between the Republican presidential hopeful and the UK. Cameron’s relative equanimity on the issue of Trump’s possible election marks a change in tone from December, when Cameron said of Trump: “If he came to visit our country, I think he would unite us all against him.”
In an interview with Piers Morgan on Monday, Trump was asked whether Cameron was damaging the countries’ relationship.
“It looks like we’re not going to have a very good relationship, who knows?” Trump said
Bernie Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver has declared that the presidential candidate is prepared to accept Donald Trump’s offer for an unprecedented bipartisan presidential primary debate.
“Our campaign and the Trump campaign have received two offers by broadcast television networks to host the Sanders-Trump debate that we suggested,” Weaver wrote in a statement. “Both offers include a major contribution to charity.”
“We are prepared to accept one of those offers and look forward to working with the Trump campaign to develop a time, place and format that is mutually agreeable. Given that the California primary is on June 7, it is imperative that this all comes together as soon as possible. We look forward to a substantive debate that will contrast the very different visions that Sen. Sanders and Mr. Trump have for the future of our country.”
The CEO of a New York-based tech company has offered to put forward the $10 million “charitable donation” proposed by Donald Trump in order to facilitate a debate between himself and Bernie Sanders.
“Yesterday, Mr Trump asked for a $10 [million] donation to charity in order to accept Mr Sanders’ challenge to debate him,” said Richie Hecker, chairman and CEO of Traction and Scale, told BuzzFeed News. “We are willing to offer that $10 [million] donation in return for the opportunity to host the debate.”
Traction and Scale is an investment group that emphasizes emphasis in design and technology, or, as its site puts it, a “stage-agnostic investment firm investing in transformative businesses that make people’s lives easier.”
“We would host the debate as a physical event and live stream it to the world,” Hecker said in his statement. “The debate format would focus on compromise and solutions. We would invite the candidates to look at the forum less as a debate, and more as a negotiation for the future of America.”
“We believe that Mr Sanders and Mr Trump collectively represent the voice of the American people,” he concluded. “We are confident that convening the voice of the people in a nonpartisan forum will spark the revolution and make America great again.”
The bipartisan primary debate, unprecedented in modern American politics, was first floated to Trump during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Trump’s team later said that he had been joking, but not before Sanders accepted Trump’s proposal. Trump then later walked back his walkback, telling reporters that he would be open to the debate if it raised money for a charitable cause.
“Opening up the water.”
Hillary Clinton stopped for a breakfast event this morning at Home of Chicken and Waffles, a popular black-owned restaurant in Oakland, California, the city Donald Trump recently called one of the “most dangerous” places in the world.
Sitting at a restaurant table with biscuits in front of her and diners with breakfast plates behind her, the former secretary of state discussed gentrification and displacement, the Bay Area housing crisis, and job opportunities for the formerly incarcerated.
“We have a big problem in affordable housing and in keeping neighborhood character and opportunities for people who have been living in Oakland for years,” Clinton said.
“There are advantages, of course, to fixing up neighborhoods, but it’s a big price to pay” if people are displaced, she added. “How do we help to support the existing neighborhoods?”
“Our cities are great magnets for people to move in,” she continued. “They are driving the market up.”
In attendance was Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf, who made headlines last week when she tweeted that “the most dangerous place in America is Donald Trump’s mouth”.
Oakland has one of the fastest rising rents of any city in the US.
“We are ground zero of the affordability crisis,” Schaaf said, noting that the city was focused on building more housing. “We don’t want to build a wall around our city.”
“It would be great if Oakland could show the way,” Clinton said, adding that she didn’t realize there was such a great disparity in housing affordability and rising costs here.
The mayor and presidential candidate also discussed efforts to “ban the box” – initiatives to help ensure that formerly incarcerated people aren’t denied job opportunities because of their criminal records. A majority of employees of Home of Chicken and Waffles employs are people who have criminal convictions on their record.
“Because of rules and regulations, a lot of people are denied housing,” Clinton said, adding that she supports initiatives that provide opportunities for people reentering society after prison. “Law enforcement has a big stake in supporting these kinds of programs,” she said, adding to restaurant owner Derreck Johnson, “I really applaud you for giving people the confidence and support they need.”
Schaaf told the Guardian earlier that she felt obligated to respond to Trump and stand up for Oakland, the city across the bay from San Francisco.
“I’m not just being funny when I say Donald Trump’s mouth is the most dangerous place in America,” she said. “When you have someone at that level saying things that are so ignorant, so mean-spirited, so factually inaccurate and insulting, that is dangerous.”
Schaaf said Trump’s negative comments about crime in Oakland and Ferguson, Missouri were clearly racist.
“Oaklanders are sick and tired of being tainted in this negative, one-dimensional light. There are so many great things about this city. And I also believe there is a racist undertone to Trump’s comments – the fact that he picked Oakland and Ferguson – two cities seen as predominantly African-American cities.”
The California primary is 7 June.
Marco Rubio on running for reelection to senate: ‘maybe’
As he launched his ill-fated presidential run, Marco Rubio decided not to run for re-election to his Florida senate seat, saying that while he liked his job, he believed that it was important to signal his intentions of winning the presidency, without a fallback option.
It appears now that Rubio may be reconsidering a reelection run, although he has called the idea “a joke” even as he explores it aloud.
The speculation was stoked on Thursday by Rubio’s expression of support for presumptive nominee Donald Trump, to the consternation of backers who agreed with his earlier assessment of Trump as a “con artist”.
Trump himself tweeted “Run Marco!” on Thursday night:
(Rubio’s senate seat appears to be one of the most ripe for capture this election cycle by Democrats, in the party’s fight to demolish the current Republican majority.)
Rubio did not effectively tamp down the reelection speculation in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper that was broadcast Friday. Tapper noted that the deadline to file for a reelection run was 24 June.
“It’s a joke,” Rubio said, explaining that “I have a really good friend I’ve known for a long time” in the race – lieutenant governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera – and that he wouldn’t run against his friend.
But what if Lopez-Cantera weren’t running, Tapper asked. Would Rubio reconsider?
“Maybe. Sure, maybe,” Rubio said. “I enjoy my work in the senate.”
Rubio’s aides continue to insist he will not seek re-election, irrespective of the mounting pressure for him to reconsider.
The senator’s suggestion that he might run if Lopez-Cantera weren’t in the race could nonetheless create a headache for his friend, who will now likely be urged by party leaders to step aside for Rubio.
Trump and anti-Semitism
Marco Rubio is engaging on Twitter with conservative fountainhead Bill Kristol and journalist Philip Klein (columnist Jennifer Rubin gets in there too) over Rubio’s decision to support Donald Trump.
Rubio dismisses Klein, who de-registered as a Republican when Trump emerged as the nominee, as a “keyboard cowboy”.
Klein replies that his opposition to Trump has made him the target of “constant anti-Semitic hate” from Trump supporters.
As a target for anti-Semitic hatred from Trump supporters, Klein is the rule, not the exception. Journalists to have written about the wave of anti-Semitic attacks they encountered after publishing material deemed critical – or not sufficiently laudatory – of Trump include Julia Ioffe writing for GQ and the New York Times’ Jonathan Weisman.
Weisman’s account of attacks directed at him is disturbing. Here’s the top of a piece he wrote for the New York Times magazine:
THE first tweet arrived as cryptic code, a signal to the army of the “alt-right” that I barely knew existed: “Hello ((Weisman)).” @CyberTrump was responding to my recent tweet of an essay by Robert Kagan on the emergence of fascism in the United States.
“Care to explain?” I answered, intuiting that my last name in brackets denoted my Jewish faith.
“What, ho, the vaunted Ashkenazi intelligence, hahaha!” CyberTrump came back. “It’s a dog whistle, fool. Belling the cat for my fellow goyim.” With the cat belled, the horde was unleashed.
The anti-Semitic hate, much of it from self-identified Donald J. Trump supporters, hasn’t stopped since. Trump God Emperor sent me the Nazi iconography of the shiftless, hooknosed Jew. I was served an image of the gates of Auschwitz, the famous words “Arbeit Macht Frei” replaced without irony with “Machen Amerika Great.” Holocaust taunts, like a path of dollar bills leading into an oven, were followed by Holocaust denial. The Jew as leftist puppet master from @DonaldTrumpLA was joined by the Jew as conservative fifth columnist, orchestrating war for Israel. That one came from someone who tagged himself a proud future member of the Trump Deportation Squad.
Read the full piece here. What is it about Trump and Nazis? Just today you can read BuzzFeed’s Rosie Gray writing about her experiences “Inside A White Nationalist Conference Energized By Trump’s Rise” – or read Yamiche Alcindor in the New York Times, quoting an LA voter who muses on the dramatic quality of changes a president Trump might usher in, “even if it’s like a Nazi-type change”:
For further reading: The Surge Of Trump-Fueled Anti-Semitism Is Hitting Jewish Reporters Who Cover Him
Sanders camp: Trump ‘chickening out’ of debate
Bernie Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver told CNN that talks with the Donald Trump camp about a potential debate between the candidates have not progressed:
There’s a little bit of foot-dragging now it seems on their side,” Weaver said. “It may be that, you know, there may be some chickening out or, you know, an unwillingness to stand on stage and really debate with Bernie Sanders because they know Bernie Sanders is going to do quite well in that debate, frankly.”
Trump video mocks doubters
Having clinched the Republican presidential nomination, Donald Trump takes a moment to remember all the people who said it couldn’t be done:
Trump’s right: what sort of ill-informed wretch would ever have doubted Trump’s chances of winning the Republican nomination?
Remember Trump Shuttle, Donald Trump’s short-lived airline? Neither do most people: Trump controlled the airline for only about two-and-a-half years, from 1989 to 1991, leaving it under a pile of debt.
Luckily for everyone, the Boston Globe has reported a colorful history of the airline, from takeoff to, ha. There actually was one crash-landing before the company fell apart: a front landing gear once failed to deploy on a plane in Trump’s fleet (described by one source as “21 of some of the oldest, worst maintained 727s then flying”) but the pilot managed to bring it in softly and no one was hurt.
Here’s the Globe’s Matt Viser on how Trump put his personal touch on his airline:
On airplanes that were worth about $4 million each, Trump spent about $1 million apiece to redesign them. He wanted a T on the tail of the plane as big as possible. A giant TRUMP was painted on the side.
The in-flight magazines featured Trump on the cover. The labels on the wetnaps had Trump Shuttle on them. New seat belt buckles were made of chrome, and he wanted all flight attendants to have necklaces with real pearls. (After warnings that would be too costly, they gave out fake strands.)
Trump also designed new uniforms that, for the flight attendants, turned out to be impractical.
“We had this pretty white blouse that showed a little cleavage,” said Catalano, the former flight attendant. “You can’t have that kind of a uniform. As a flight attendant, you’re bending down or picking things up.
“Many of us put safety pins in the back to keep them closed,” she added. “They had to change the style after enough of us complained.”
The idea for real marble sinks in the lavatories didn’t work either. Read the full piece here.
When does the law of diminishing returns apply to unearthing old clips of Donald Trump saying sexist things? Never?
To watch for yourself, skip to the three-minute mark in the video on the Comedy Central site here.
The Clinton campaign has launched what it bills as the first in a series of mock-formal messages from “your possible next president” featuring Donald Trump saying things. The clip is intro’d and then abruptly outro’d by a brief clip of Hail to the Chief.
In the first one Trump says that pregnancy “is certainly an inconvenience for a business.”
Sanders has eye on California
A once-robust seeming Hillary Clinton lead over rival Bernie Sanders in California, which will award 475 Democratic delegates in a 7 June primary, has been whittled to a toothpick, according to a Public Policy Institute of California poll released Wednesday.
Clinton leads Sanders by only two points, 46-44, in the poll. The state will award its delegates proportionally.
“We are going to win here in California!” Sanders said at a Santa Monica rally this week, described in a recommended Atlantic piece titled “This is how a revolution ends.”
Clinton does not need to win California to maintain her delegate lead over Sanders, and, counting superdelegates, she may cross the threshold of 2,383 committed delegates needed to clinch the nomination before the California result is reported. Clinton currently sits at 2,309 delegates, including superdelegates (see below); Puerto Rico, where Clinton support runs deep, will award 60 delegates on 5 June; and polling stations in New Jersey, with 126 delegates to award, close on 7 June at 8pm ET – three hours before the polls close in California.
A loss in the country’s largest and most diverse state, however, would be a significant blow to the Clinton campaign, raising questions about her ability to mobilize Democrats for a general election fight against Donald Trump.
Both Sanders and Clinton have been adding California rally dates to their schedules in a race to the wire. Clinton is in Oakland today while Sanders is in San Pedro. Sanders will campaign tomorrow in Fresno.
Foster sister on Trump: ‘wrong’, ‘irresponsible’, ‘cruel’
Sheila Foster Anthony, sister of the late Vince Foster, who killed himself in 1993 after becoming Bill Clinton’s deputy White House counsel, has written an op-ed in the Washington Post decrying Donald Trump’s amplification of conspiracy theories attached to her brother’s death.
“It is beyond contempt that a politician would use a family tragedy to further his candidacy, but such is the character of Donald Trump displayed in his recent comments to The Washington Post,” Anthony begins:
In this interview, Trump cynically, crassly and recklessly insinuated that my brother, Vincent W. Foster Jr., may have been murdered because “he had intimate knowledge of what was going on” and that Hillary Clinton may have somehow played a role in Vince’s death.
How wrong. How irresponsible. How cruel. […]
Trump was canny enough to hedge — he’s not the one raising questions, he said, but others have. He noted that Vince “knew everything that was going on, and then all of a sudden he committed suicide.” The circumstances of Vince’s death, he observed, were “very fishy” and the theories about possible foul play “very serious.”
This is scurrilous enough coming from right-wing political operatives who have peddled conspiracy theories about Vince’s death for more than two decades. How could this be coming from the presumptive Republican nominee for president?
Read the full piece here.
Cruz withholds Trump endorsement
On the Paul Ryan / Marco Rubio spectrum – in which Ryan says he’s not ready to endorse Donald Trump and Rubio says he’ll release his delegates and support Trump at the national convention – former presidential candidate Ted Cruz seems to fall closer to Ryan.
Cruz has repeatedly declined to back Trump in an interview Friday morning on Oklahoma radio, reports CNN’s Teddy Schleifer:
The Texas Tribune’s Patrick Svitek is listening, too:
Cruz ended the race with 559 delegates. Releasing them to back Trump in a first round of voting at the Republican convention would allow for a show of party unity in the form of overwhelming majority backing for the nominee. On his own, Trump appears on track to capture less than 60% of the delegates at stake, depending on his performance on 7 June; Rubio’s 165 delegates could help push Trump closer to 70% in the first round of convention voting.
Hello and welcome to our live-wire coverage of the 2016 race for the White House. Will House speaker Paul Ryan pay for his slowness to endorse presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump? Sarah Palin has warned that Ryan would get “Cantor’d”, meaning lose his primary race in Wisconsin’s first congressional district to a challenger, in this case Paul Nehlen (such a fate befell former House majority leader Eric Cantor in 2014).
A Free Beacon poll out this morning brings some good news for Ryan: he appears to be leading Nehlen by 73 points, 80%-7%. But the primary isn’t until August.
Hillary Clinton has tamped down speculation that her rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Bernie Sanders, might meet Donald Trump in a debate in advance of the 7 June California primary, saying “I don’t think it’s going to happen.”
“You know, I know they’ve gone back and forth on this, and they seem to be saying it’s some kind of joke. Trump doesn’t sound very serious,” Clinton said in a call-in interview on MSNBC. “But I can tell you, I look forward to debating Donald Trump in the general election. I can’t wait to get on that debate stage with him.”
Sanders and (a bit more elusively) Trump, meanwhile, seemed game, with Sanders tweeting “let’s do it in the biggest stadium possible”. Veteran boxing promoter Bob Arum offered on Thursday to promote the showdown.
Sanders appeared on Thursday night on late-night jokester Jimmy Kimmel’s show, where Trump agreed in principle to the debate the night before. Kimmel posed a question to Sanders he said was direct from Trump: given how mistreated Sanders has been by the Democratic party (Trump said), would he consider running as an independent?
“Well, I think there’s a little bit of self-service there from Donald Trump,” Sanders said. “You think he’s really worried about me?”
Elsewhere, Barack Obama has made the first-ever visit to Hiroshima by a sitting president. He greeted survivors of the atomic bombing and called for an end to the nuclear era. “Amongst those nations like my own that own nuclear stockpiles,” he said, “We must have the courage to escape the logic of fear and pursue a world without them.”
Trump spoke on energy policy in Bismarck, North Dakota, on Thursday afternoon, promising to revivify the coal industry and repeal environmental regulations put in place by the Obama administration. “We’re going to cancel the Paris climate agreement,” he said.
Finally, in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Florida senator and former presidential candidate Marco Rubio backed away from possibly serving as his party’s vice-presidential nominee this cycle, although he left the door open on running for office again in the future.
“It’s a safe assumption,” Rubio said of his chances of seeking office, although he ruled out running for re-election to the senate in this cycle. “If there’s an opportunity to serve again in a way I feel passionate about it, I’ll certainly explore it.”
Today Trump is campaigning in San Diego, where reporters Rory Carroll and Nicky Woolf will be on hand to bear witness. Sanders is also in California, appearing in San Pedro.
Hillary Clinton will take a part in a discussion with community leaders in Oakland, while on the other side of the country, her husband is campaigning in Edison, New Jersey.
Thank you for reading and please join us in the comments throughout the day …
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