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Despite his initial promise, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump backed out of his scheduled California debate with Democratic frontrunner Bernie Sanders, thus inspiring the viral Twitter hashtag #ChickenTrump.
The plans for the anticipated debate first arose when Trump appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Wednesday night. Kimmel read a note from the Sanders campaign inviting Trump to debate, to which Trump quickly agreed. "If he paid a nice sum for charity, I would love to do that," Trump said.
The next day at his campaign's North Dakota rally, Trump confirmed his willingness to debate Sanders, so long as the two campaigns were able to raise "$10 million or $15 million for charity," Sputnik reports. Investment company Traction and Sale, Top Rank Promotions, and Young Turks, among others, quickly coughed up that amount, but Trump officially backed out Friday.
"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," reads a statement from Trump's campaign.
Twitter predictably seized the opportunity to bash Trump for backing out of the debate, creating the hashtag #ChickenTrump to supplement the ridicule.
Vocal Sanders supporter Sarah Silverman quickly hopped on board the #ChickenTrump wagon with a derisive tweet that poked at Trump's apparent lack of courage.
A Sanders-supporting European account made a meme for the occasion that questioned Trump's ability to make America great again.
Hend Amry, the so-called the Queen of Muslim Twitter, invoked Trump's history of inappropriate behavior to ridicule his backing out of the debate.
UK spoof publication News Thump took the opportunity to hit Trump below the belt—literally.
On-point political cartoons predictably began to surface.
Thank you for calling attention to this disturbing resemblance, @shebagrundy.
And a clever "Why did the chicken cross the road?" take on the ordeal.
Some more #ChickenTrump Twitter gold for you: