Bloomberg trades blows with Trump

Late en­trant to Demo­cratic con­test launches so­cial me­dia broad­side in the run-up to Su­per Tues­day

The Daily Telegraph - - Front page - By Ben Ri­ley-smith US ED­I­TOR

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.

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