In an interview on CBS News’ “60 Minutes” airing Sunday night, Bloomberg said it’s “incomprehensible that the president would do something as inane as calling it a hoax, which he did… in South Carolina.”
Trump had said last Friday at a rally in North Charleston, S.C., “the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus… this is their new hoax. But, you know, we did something that’s been pretty amazing,” referring to his administration’s response. The virus has killed an estimated 3,000 people worldwide, including two in the U.S., officials said.
“It is just ignorant and irresponsible to not stand up and be the leader and say, ‘We don’t know, but we have to prepare for the fact that, if it is, we have the medicines and the structure and the knowledge to deal with it,'” Bloomberg said.
The former New York City mayor also lambasted the president’s recently proposed 16 percent budget cuts to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which have not taken effect. Congress previously has denied such proposed cuts.
“We have to spend money to make us safe and protect this country,” Bloomberg said. “It’s like saying, ‘I’m not going fund the military, I’m not gonna fund the local fire department. We’re not gonna have fires. I don’t believe — fires are hoaxes.’ This is about the level that he’s talking.”
Trump asked Congress for $2.5 billion to fight the coronavirus, but Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer recently proposed a spending package totaling $8.5 billion.
As Bloomberg’s interview aired, Trump bashed the billionaire on Twitter using his favorite nickname.
“Mini Mike Bloomberg didn’t bring NYC BACK, as he said in his fake ad,” Trump tweeted. “It was @RudyGiuliani who brought NYC back and who also, with his endorsement, got Mini Mike elected (with barely a thank you). A boring mayor who the people couldn’t stand!”
Bloomberg responded later, “Instead of watching me on @60Minutes, why don’t you spend 60 minutes getting up to speed on the coronavirus crisis you’re mismanaging? Is that too much to ask?”
He continued in the interview, “I have been training for this job for close to 20 years. There is nobody else running that has any management experience whatsoever in any of these things, but you have to have somebody that’s been there, done that, and will do it right and will guide us through the tough times, particularly Day One.”
Bloomberg has spent over $500 million ahead of Super Tuesday, employing a similar tactic to that of his run for mayor — to outspend his opponents. He has said he’s willing to spend as much as $2 billion dollars in the race for the White House.