American whistleblower Edward Snowden, who exposed a number of warrantless wiretapping programs executed by the Nation Security Agency (NSA), took to Twitter today to blast Donald Trump for his refusal to debate Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders:
Who would have imagined Donald Trump’s greatest fear was an economic debate?
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) May 28, 2016
Earlier this week, Trump had told talk show host Jimmy Kimmel that he would would “love to” debate Sanders for charity. Trump also said at a North Dakota press conference, “I’d love to debate Bernie”.
Sanders quickly responded on Twitter:
Game on. I look forward to debating Donald Trump in California before the June 7 primary.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) May 26, 2016
Sanders campaign spokesperson followed up with a statement:
“We are ready to debate Donald Trump. We hope he will not chicken out. I think it will be great for America to see these two candidates and the different visions they have for America going forward. What we’ll have to see is does Donald Trump have the courage to get on the stage with Bernie Sanders. That remains to be seen.”
Renowned economist and UC-Berkeley professor Robert Reich supported calls for a debate, saying,
“I don’t know if it will actually happen, but a debate between the two anti-establishment candidates who have captured the imagination of America this year, neither of whom has ever belonged to one of the major parties, and who are staging revolts against politics as usual – on one side, the authoritarian populist Trump, and on the other the progressive populist Bernie – would be good for the nation. It would highlight the anti-establishment fury that’s gripped America, and the reasons for it – crony capitalism and an economy rigged by the moneyed interests. And it would put the two parties (and Hillary Clinton) on even clearer notice that they must respond to this fury.”
He continued, “It would also let America see how effective Bernie can be nailing Trump to the wall for his bigotry, hatefulness, and xenophobia.”
Trump did indeed “chicken out” of his pledge to debate Bernie. On Friday, Trump issued a statement saying,
“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”.