VENTURA, Calif. – Saying he was “very excited” and “can’t wait” to debate Donald Trump, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday told a Ventura College rally he looked forward to debating jobs, low wages, tax breaks for the rich, climate change and other issues.
Sanders first proposed a debate with Trump after Hillary Clinton reneged on a commitment to debate Sanders in California in May before the June 7 primary election. Trump agreed.
“I am very excited about it,” Sanders told the crowd of more than 9,800 supporters.
Sanders said he looked forward to asking Trump why he favors more tax breaks for the wealthy and profitable corporations, why he thinks wages for American workers are too high and why he opposes raising the $7.25 an hour minimum wage
“We’re going to ask him why he thinks climate change is a hoax when the scientific community is almost unanimous that climate change is causing devastating problems,” Sanders added.
He also said he looked forward to asking the presumptive Republican presidential candidate “why he thinks that in a nation where our diversity is our strength he thinks it is appropriate to be insulting Mexicans and Latinos” and Muslims and women and veterans.
In the closing weeks of the contest with Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, Sanders maintained a heavy schedule of big rallies designed to put him before 200,000 Californians by Election Day.
“We are holding rallies just like this up and down this state,” Sanders said. “By the end of this campaign here in California I am confident we will have personally met and spoken to over 200,000 Californians. This is a grassroots campaign of the people, by the people and for the people.”
The Southern California rally was the first after a new poll published on Wednesday showed Sanders surging to within two points of Hillary Clinton. The Public Policy Institute of California poll not only showed Clinton and Sanders in a dead heat – 46 percent for Clinton to 44 percent for Sanders – it also showed Sanders with a much broader lead than Clinton in a general election matchup. Clinton led Trump by 10 percentage points. Sanders led him by 17 points.