"Game on" - Sanders and Trump open to prospect of debate ahead of California primaries

The presumptive Republican candidate has said the 'system is rigged' against Sanders, which is "unfair to him"

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Image: Timothy D. Easley / AP

The prospect of a debate between Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders seems to have increased after both the candidates expressed a willingness to take part in a debate ahead of the California primaries.

Speaking to Jimmy Kimmel last night, the presumptive Republican candidate was quizzed by the host on the possibility of a debate with Sanders.

Mr Trump said: "If I debated him, we would have such high ratings, and I think I should [...] take that money and give it to some worthy charity".

Senator Sanders quickly responded to Trump's comments, saying "game on":

In the interview, Trump also suggested that Sanders would be "easier to beat" than Hillary Clinton in a general election, but added that "the system is rigged against [Sanders]" in the primary process. "It's unfair to him, I don't like what's happening," he added.

The property magnate's appearance on Jimmy Kimmel proved controversial, with musicians The Weeknd and Belly pulling out of their planned appearances as a result of Trump's presence.

In a statement quoted by Associated Press, Belly explained: "I feel like the way I was raised was to be able to see through all the titles in this world - from religion to race. I just didn't want to feel like I was a part of a celebration for somebody who has beliefs that majority of us don't agree with". 

Despite Hillary Clinton enjoying a commanding lead in terms of delegate numbers, Sanders has vowed to continue his campaign until July's Democratic party convention.

Clinton is likely to receive the presidential nomination even if she loses in California, but The New York Times suggests that a Sanders win the would "provide a sour and deflating end to [Clinton's] primary campaign".

The latest polls show Clinton with only a marginal lead in the state, which has more delegates available than in any of the contests to date. Public Policy Institute of California figures show Clinton with 46% support to Sanders' 44% - a gap said to be within the margin of error.