Update: Now Donald Trump has said in a statement that it’s not going to happen after all. The Hollywood Reporter has the word from Trump: “The networks want to make a killing on these events and are not proving to be too generous to charitable causes, in this case, women’s health issues. 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, probably Crooked Hillary Clinton, or whoever it may be.”
Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have both said that they’re willing to debate each other and now a New York-based technology investment company has offered to put up the $10 million for charity that could make it happen. Who is this company? And how did this crazy political season take yet another bizarre turn?
After back-to-back late-night appearances this week on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” Trump and Sanders agreed to debate ahead of the California primary on June 7. On Thursday, Trump said during a rally in Bismarck, N.D., that he wanted “something over $10 million” to go toward “women’s health issues or something.”
“Yesterday, Mr. Trump asked for a $10 [million] donation to charity in order to accept Mr Sanders’ challenge to debate him,” said Richie Hecker, chairman and CEO of Traction and Scale, in a statement to BuzzFeed News. “We are willing to offer that $10 [million] donation in return for the opportunity to host the debate.”
Traction and Scale is an investment firm focused on “transformative businesses that make people’s lives easier,” according to its website. Traction and Scale is particularly keen on companies that pay attention to “simple product design, smart data and engaged communities.”
“If I debated him we would have such high ratings,” Trump told Kimmel. The Republican presidential hopeful said that he’s been advocating for some time that there should be a dollar figure attached to debates and the money should go to charity.
A night later, Sanders told Kimmel that the debate opportunity would bring together “two guys who look at the world very, very differently.” The Democratic hopeful, by the way, said that Hillary Clinton shouldn’t “count her chickens” ahead of California’s vote.
According to BuzzFeed, Hecker said the goal would be to host the event at the largest venue possible in California on Monday, the day before the state’s primary.
I am delighted that @realDonaldTrump has agreed to debate. Let’s do it in the biggest stadium possible.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) May 26, 2016
“We would host the debate as a physical event and live stream it to the world,” Hecker said. “As a technology incubator and investment company, Traction and Scale builds transformative user experiences and will host the debate on our cutting-edge mobile technology. We have distribution to 250MM Americans on social media through this channel.”
While the aim would be to stream the event online, Hecker told BuzzFeed he expected that there would be TV coverage as well.