On Friday, the Republican frontrunner officially refused to debate Bernie Sanders. He did this despite having his initial demand of $10 million tripled, thanks to CEOs from two companies.
The plan for the debate began on Wednesday evening, when Trump appeared on the Jimmy Kimmel Live! TV show. During the interview, Kimmel read a note from the Sanders campaign inviting Trump him to a debate in California.
"That could happen, I've been saying that should happen anyway," Trump said. "If he paid a nice sum for charity, I would love to do that."
A day later, at a campaign rally in North Dakota he confirmed his intention.
"He's a dream," the real-estate-baron-turned-candidate said, referring to Sanders. "If we can raise for maybe women's health issues or something. If we can raise $10 or $15 million for charity, which would be a very appropriate amount."
That sum was quickly staked by investment company Traction and Scale. According to Richie Hecker, company chairman and CEO, "We believe that Mr. Sanders and Mr. Trump collectively represent the voice of the American people. We are confident that convening the voice of the people in a nonpartisan forum will spark the revolution and make America great again."
Hecker's sum was soon topped by boxing promoter Bob Arum's Top Rank Promotions, which offered twice as much for the opportunity to host a debate.
"It's the debate of the century between two of the top pound-for-pound politicians in the country," Arum said in the language of the boxing ring, noting that, "It would be the biggest pay-per-view of all time."
These major offers were supplemented by a number of smaller ones, including the Young Turks, who offered $1 million.
But, despite all the harangue, Trump changed his mind Friday, providing a somewhat weak-kneed excuse, to the disappointment of many.
"Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged and Crooked Hillary Clinton and (Debbie) 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," reads a statement from the Trump camp.
Sanders responded to Trump's statement by remarking, "Well, I hope that he changes his mind again."
"Mr. Trump has been known to change his mind many times in a day," the Vermont Senator clarified.
Despite that Trump would rather have his retreat buried and forgotten, Twitter exploded with mocking posts featuring a #ChickenTrump hashtag and lots of caricatures of the bewigged former TV producer.
"Amusing how a man who claims he will take on ISIL is apparently afraid to take on septuagenarian senator from Vermont in a simple war of words," wrote WeAreChange.org.
@seacorc Except he doesn't duck — he screams! And pounds his fists to the ground and vomits all over Twitter.— Jon Maas (@jondmaas) 27 мая 2016 г.
Although it may not put Sanders in office, judges are calling Trump's submission a 1-bell knockout win for the Democratic candidate.