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Trump backs down from debate with Sanders

Spencer Platt, AFP | Presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Fresno, California on May 27, 2016

Republican Donald Trump on Friday backed down from a presidential debate with Bernie Sanders after initially agreeing to face off against the Democratic primary candidate earlier in the week.

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Trump, the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party, said it would be “inappropriate” to debate with the Vermont senator since Sanders would likely finish second in the Democratic contest.

He also blamed television networks for the sudden U-turn.

“The networks want to make a killing on these events and are not proving to be too generous to charitable causes… 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,” Trump said in a press release.

Trump had initially agreed to debate Sanders during an appearance on the popular television show "Jimmy Kimmel Live!".

"Game on. I look forward to debating Donald Trump in California before the June 7 primary," Sanders tweeted shortly after the show aired on Wednesday.

Democratic primary frontrunner Hillary Clinton had expressed doubt that the unusual debate would ever take place.

“This doesn’t sound like a serious discussion,” she told CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer on Thursday. “I’m looking forward to debating Donald Trump in the general election. I can’t wait to get on the stage with him.”

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