Explaining in an interview with CBS This Morning why he launched a White House bid late last month – with just two months to go until the start of the primary and caucus nominating calendar – the multibillionaire business and media mogul said “I watched all the candidates and I thought to myself, ‘Donald Trump would just eat them up’.”
“Let me rephrase it. I think that I would do the best job of competing with him and beating him,” added Bloomberg, who has poured millions of his own money in recent years to battling gun violence and curbing climate change.
Bloomberg flirted with a White House bid at the beginning of the year — but with Joe Biden gearing up for a presidential bid — he decided against launching a campaign at the time because he felt he and the former vice president would split the center-left Democratic vote. But with Biden, once the unrivaled front-runner, now battling other top-tier contenders Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts as well as South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Bloomberg jumped into the race two weeks ago.
Asked if he was trying to take Biden’s job, Bloomberg said “he doesn’t have the job of president of the United States and neither do I. At the moment, the person that has it is Donald Trump. I’m trying to take away the job from Donald Trump.”
The CBS interview was recorded on Thursday and broadcast on Friday morning.
Bloomberg’s skipping the early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina – which hold the first four contests in February. Instead, he’s campaigning in the delegate-rich Super Tuesday states that vote at the beginning of March, and beyond. He’s already invested an eye-popping $57 million to carpet the airwaves in media markets from coast to coast with TV campaign commercials.
Bloomberg’s entry into the race – and the vast sums of money he’s spending – have angered some of his rivals.
Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey – visibility upset earlier this week after his good friend Sen. Kamala Harris of California ended her White House bid – said “there’s more billionaires in the 2020 race than there are black people.”
With Harris out of the race, Booker and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick are the two remaining black candidates in the still large field of Democratic White House hopefuls. Besides Bloomberg, billionaire environmental and progressive advocate Tom Steyer is also running for the nomination.
Asked about Booker’s criticism, Bloomberg said in the CBS interview that “Cory Booker endorsed me a number of times, and I endorsed Cory Booker a number of times,”
“He’s very well-spoken. He’s got some good ideas. It would be better the more diverse any group is, but the public is out there picking and choosing, and narrowing down this field,” he added.
Bloomberg’s “very well-spoken” description of Booker received criticism on social media.