Bloomberg Will Spend to Beat Trump, Even If He’s Not the Nominee
January 14, 2020 | by James G. Dalton
Michael Bloomberg said Saturday he’s willing to spend a lot of money — but “hopefully not” as much as $1 billion — to help any Democratic nominee defeat President Donald Trump, even if he loses the nomination.
Bloomberg, who joined the Democratic presidential contest Nov. 24, said in an interview that he plans to keep “a chunk” of his 500-person ground game operation working to defeat Trump, regardless of who wins the primary contest.
The New York Times asked Bloomberg if he would spend $1 billion to defeat Trump and said he didn’t rule it out.
When asked about that later, he said it would “hopefully not” take that much money, but that he would support Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Tom Steyer or “whoever’s in the race.”
“I have to see as I get there,” Bloomberg said. “I would prefer them to Donald Trump and I would try to help them.”
Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News. He gave interviews on his campaign bus as it drove through central Texas.
The anti-Trump effort would be independent of the nominee’s campaign. Bloomberg joked that Sanders and Warren, who have criticized him for trying to “buy” the nomination, may not want his money.
“If they’ve said really bad things about my money, I assume that’s what they believe, and they probably wouldn’t want it,” Bloomberg said, while ensuring that his organization would work to help Warren or Sanders despite his stated differences with them over a wealth tax and Medicare for All.
Warren was asked Saturday about his plan.
“Michael Bloomberg can spend his money however he wants, and I hope he does spend to help advance issues and causes that we care about,” she told reporters in Mason City, Iowa. “I’m glad for him to help candidates, including me, but I’m not going to sell access to my time. I’m not going to change anything I do.”
The former New York mayor said he thinks he could win the nomination, even with his untested strategy of skipping the first four nominating contests. He said Democratic voters are placing a premium on who can beat Trump and who has the experience to solve problems and unite the country.
Some Democratic consultants have said that if Biden or another candidate emerges from the first four contests with clear momentum, Bloomberg will have trouble overcoming that advantage.
Bloomberg likened that thinking to generals “fighting the last war” by using strategy that’s no longer applicable.
“The impact of the early four is a lot less than it was before,” he said.
In other matters, Bloomberg said:
* Cutting the corporate rate in the 2017 Republican tax overhaul was necessary for competitive reasons but the rate cut was too large — and the law’s income-tax rate reductions for the wealthiest Americans meant there was no money for other priorities such as improving crumbling infrastructure. “You can expect me to try to rectify that in our proposals,” he said.*He’s working to address negative perceptions some voters may have of him because of policies such as “stop-and-frisk” policing in New York that critics said targeted blacks and Hispanics. He said his approach is to “talk to people and explain what you did,” to overcome those perceptions.* He would not commit to serving only one term. He would be 82 when it ended. Like Sanders, 78, and Biden, 77, Bloomberg, who is also 77, said pledging to serve only one term before an election is foolish. “You’re giving the Republicans the ultimate gift,” he said. “You’re a lame duck from the day you get elected. Why on earth would you want to do that?”
* Running for president isn’t much different than running for mayor, except there’s more flying than driving.
Bloomberg staged a tour in Texas on a bus painted with the phrase, “Get it Done Express.” He had events in San Antonio, Austin and Dallas plus other stops, including a brisket and baked beans barbecue lunch in San Marcos.
“We think the road to victory in November starts right here today,” Bloomberg said in a speech at a Mexican restaurant in San Antonio.
Texas has 228 pledged delegates available, second-most behind California’s 415 delegates of the 14 states voting on Super Tuesday.
Bloomberg was joined in Texas by Judy Sheindlin, who presides over the daytime television courtroom show “Judge Judy” and has endorsed Bloomberg.