- Hillary Clinton has refused to debate with Bernie Sanders, saying she is eager to “move on” from the Democratic primary race.
- Bernie said he was “disappointed but not surprised…unwillingness to debate before the largest and most important primary in the presidential nominating process.”
- Clinton went on to ignore Sanders and focus her attacks onto Donald Trump.
- Clinton said, “how can anyone lose money running a casino?” Referring to Trump’s poor business planning.
Eager to move on from the Democratic primary race, Hillary Clinton has turned down an invitation to debate Senator Bernie Sanders ahead of California’s primary, her campaign said on Monday.
The announcement came hours after Mrs. Clinton unleashed a biting critique of Donald J. Trump while addressing a union convention, mocking his business record and offering a glimpse at how she might confront him in the general election.
Mr. Sanders’s campaign last week tentatively accepted an invitation by Fox News to participate in a debate before California’s June 7 primary and expressed hope that Mrs. Clinton would agree to face off against the senator.
In a statement issued Monday evening, a spokeswoman for Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, Jennifer Palmieri, said Mrs. Clinton’s team would contest California while “turning our attention to the threat a Donald Trump presidency poses.”
“We believe that Hillary Clinton’s time is best spent campaigning and meeting directly with voters across California and preparing for a general election campaign that will ensure the White House remains in Democratic hands,” Ms. Palmieri said.
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Mr. Sanders said in a statement that he was “disappointed but not surprised” by Mrs. Clinton’s “unwillingness to debate before the largest and most important primary in the presidential nominating process.” He added, “I hope Secretary Clinton reconsiders her unfortunate decision to back away from her commitment to debate.”
Earlier on Monday, Mrs. Clinton left no confusion about where she was focusing her attention.
Speaking at a convention here for the influential Service Employees International Union, which endorsed her in November, Mrs. Clinton asserted that “a lot of Republicans themselves say Donald Trump is a disaster waiting to happen to America.”
She broached the subject of his business record, suggesting his supposed acumen was less than met the eye.
“He could bankrupt America like he’s bankrupted his companies,” Mrs. Clinton said. “I mean, ask yourself: How can anybody lose money running a casino? Really.”
The union has spent millions underwriting the Fight for $15 campaign to raise the minimum wage. On that subject, Mrs. Clinton brought up Mr. Trump’s comment during a debate in November about wages being “too high” — though he has recently said otherwise — and his suggestion that the federal minimum wage should be eliminated.
Mrs. Clinton has not supported a $15 hourly federal minimum wage, but when pressed about it in the last Democratic debate, she said she would sign a bill raising it to that amount if she were president.
Taking on Mr. Trump on Monday, she warned that “what little we know of his economic policies” consisted of piling up debt, leading the country into trade wars and letting Wall Street run amok, with potentially devastating consequences.
And she criticized his hard-line approach to immigration, including his desire to deport those who are in the country illegally.
“What kind of country would we be if we let Donald Trump rip our families apart?” she asked.
Mrs. Clinton gave her address in Michigan, one of the Rust Belt states that Mr. Trump hopes to move into the Republican column in the November election. He won the state’s Republican primary in March after highlighting his staunch opposition to trade deals. Mr. Sanders, who also criticized trade deals, defeated Mrs. Clinton in the Democratic primary there.
During her address, Mrs. Clinton took a moment to give credit to Mr. Sanders.
“I applaud Senator Sanders and his supporters for challenging us,” she said. She listed money in politics and income inequality, key issues for Mr. Sanders, as two areas she intended to address.
Mrs. Clinton has a virtually insurmountable delegate lead over Mr. Sanders, and last week she said there was “no way” she would not be the Democratic Party’s nominee.
But Mr. Sanders defeated her this month in Indiana, West Virginia and Oregon, contests that highlighted her vulnerabilities among white working-class voters.
Now, even without a debate, Mrs. Clinton, and Mr. Sanders are headed to a battle in California. Mr. Sanders is in the midst of a string of campaign events there, and Mrs. Clinton is planning several stops in the state this week.
At a rally in East Los Angeles on Monday, Mr. Sanders pointedly criticized both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump by attacking their ties to wealthy political donors.
Mr. Sanders also called Mr. Trump “hysterically funny,” adding that the businessman might be lying about his net worth.
“Trump is a multi-billionaire — or so he tells us,” he said. “We don’t know what is true or not because, you know, he lies every day, so probably he’s broke.”
Source: New York Times