Bloomberg trades blows with Trump
Late entrant to Democratic contest launches social media broadside in the run-up to Super Tuesday
Michael Bloomberg called Donald Trump a “carnival barking clown” yesterday as the former New York mayor geared up his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. The billionaire sat out the first two votes in Iowa and New Hampshire but has seen a boost in his chances after Joe Biden, the former vice-president, performed badly. Yesterday the president again took aim at Mr Bloomberg’s height, calling him “a 5’4” mass of dead energy”.
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG called Donald Trump a “carnival barking clown” yesterday as the former New York mayor’s chances of becoming the Democratic nominee continued to tick up.
The billionaire and late entrant sat out the first two votes in Iowa and New Hampshire but saw a boost in his chances after Joe Biden, the leading moderate and former US vice president stumbled in both states.
This week the Trump campaign has escalated attacks on Mr Bloomberg in a sign that he is seen as a potentially serious threat in contests next month.
Yesterday Mr Trump repeated his “Mini Mike” tweets, aimed at his height and repeating a claim, denied by his campaign, that Mr Bloomberg requested a stool for the next debate.
The president tweeted: “Mini Mike is a 5’4” mass of dead energy who does not want to be on the debate stage with these professional politicians. No boxes please.”
The height was wrong – Mr Bloomberg is actually 5ft 8in. However, Mr Bloomberg, 77, wrote back on Twitter: “We know many of the same people in NY. Behind your back they laugh at you & call you a carnival barking clown. They know you inherited a fortune & squandered it with stupid deals and incompetence. I have the record & the resources to defeat you. And I will.”
The exchanges captured the Trump campaign’s increasing willingness to call out Mr Bloomberg and the latter’s enthusiasm to go toe to toe with the president on social media. Mr Bloomberg announced last year that he would not seek the Democratic nomination, citing the strong polling performance of Mr Biden. However he reversed that decision in November amid suggestions Mr Biden’s pitch might not be as strong as it first appeared.
Since then he has poured millions of dollars into an advertising campaign. He will join the race on so-called Super Tuesday, March 3, when more than a dozen states vote.
Mr Biden’s poor finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire have left his campaign in freefall, while there are doubts about Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg, the 38-year-old former South Bend mayor.
Mr Bloomberg, a former Republican who created the Bloomberg financial empire, is positioning himself as the moderate candidate who can defeat Mr Trump and win over centrist voters.
The billionaire has been paying internet stars to produce memes on his behalf, in an apparent attempt to woo
‘You inherited a fortune and squandered it. I have the record and resources to defeat you. And I will’
younger voters and in a reflection of his vast financial power.
He has the third most endorsements in the race, behind Mr Biden and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, according to a tracker run by the political website Five Thirty Eight.
Meanwhile, the Trump campaign has been releasing videos unearthed from the archives of Mr Bloomberg, defending his controversial stop and frisk police policy while New York mayor, and questioning his legacy of tackling racial injustice. Mr Trump himself faced a rebuke from his own party last night when the US Senate voted to bar any military action against Iran without Congressional approval. The president is almost certain to issue a veto but the vote was seen as a slap on the wrist after eight Republican senators joined Democrats to support the resolution.