Bernie Sanders enraged Democrats Thursday when he challenged Donald Trump to a debate before next month's California primary.
"Bullshit," West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin told Politico. "That confirms what we've been saying.
"Why would you expect Bernie should be considerate or be nice or be working to bring everyone together? Why?" Manchin asked. "He's not a Democrat."
The move was in response to Trump telling reporters in North Dakota that he would "love" to debate the Vermont senator after gaining enough delegates to win the Republican nomination.
Trump said he would debate for $10 million
, with the proceeds going to women's health programs.
Sanders' foray comes as Democrats grow angrier with his refusal to quit the race — and now his playing into a major event that could exclude front-runner Hillary Clinton, Politico reports.
"I don't know why he would do that," said Michigan Sen. Gary Peters. "I think it's time to start to winding down the primary. It's time to move on."
Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown called the move "peculiar."
"It's all about Bernie trying to get the advantage in California," he told Politico. "It's not going to work."
California is among five states holding its primary on June 7, the last day of the 2016 primary season. The Golden State carries 475 Democratic delegates.
But a few Democrats welcomed a debate, echoing the rationale of Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill: "The more Donald Trump gets exposed in the context of public policy, the better it is for our country."
"It's a good idea," Washington state Sen. Maria Cantwell told Politico. "The economic future of our country needs to be debated."
But California Sen. Dianne Feinstein saw Sanders' ploy as more of desperation than anything else.
"What he's trying to do," she told Politico, "is bring attention to himself."
As for Clinton, she has refused to debate Sanders before the big primary. She dismissed the idea of her challengers debating each other on Thursday.
"I don't think it's serious," she told Wolf Blitzer on CNN
. "I don't think it's going to happen."
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