Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) accused Hillary Clinton of “insulting” California voters by refusing to debate him on Fox News before the Golden State primary.
Clinton, who has declared she will be the Democratic Party nominee while Sanders vows to fight until the convention, said her focus is on her presumptive general election foe.
“As we have said previously, we plan to compete hard in the remaining primary states, particularly California, while turning our attention to the threat a Donald Trump presidency poses,” said Clinton spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri. “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.”
Sanders said in a statement Monday that he was “disappointed but not surprised by Secretary Clinton’s unwillingness to debate before the largest and most important primary in the presidential nominating process.”
“The state of California and the United States face some enormous crises. Democracy, and respect for the voters of California, would suggest that there should be a vigorous debate in which the voters may determine whose ideas they support. I hope Secretary Clinton reconsiders her unfortunate decision to back away from her commitment to debate,” he said.
That agreement was forged in February, when Clinton and Sanders agreed to a May debate. The other three debates in that agreement have already happened.
“I also would suggest that Secretary Clinton may want to be not quite so presumptuous about thinking that she is a certain winner,” Sanders added. “In the last several weeks, the people of Indiana, West Virginia and Oregon have suggested otherwise.”
Bernie continued throwing shade at Hillary during a campaign stop on the football field at Santa Monica High School.
He called it “insulting to the people of California – our largest state – that she is not prepared to have a discussion with me about how we address the major crises we face.”
“They’ve been very nervous lately and I don’t want to get them more nervous but we’re going to win here in California,” he added, as “voter registration here in California among young people and working people is off the charts.”
Clinton leads Sanders by 18 points in the state in a new KABC poll released Monday.
Sanders holds rallies in Anaheim, Riverside and San Bernardino today. Clinton returns to the state on Wednesday for “organizing events” in Orange County and Salinas.