Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg turned his fire on Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in a digital ad released Monday night in which he accused the Vermont Senator’s campaign of employing aggressive tactics and harassment.
A 53-second video mashup posted to Twitter shows aggressive and threatening comments made by people who appear to be Sanders supporters, juxtaposed with Sanders calling for “civil discourse.”
“We need to unite to defeat Trump in November,” Bloomberg said in a tweet that accompanied the post. “This type of ‘energy’ is not going to get us there.”
The broadside followed comments made by Sanders at a campaign rally Sunday in which he accused the former New York mayor, a billionaire businessman, of trying to “buy the presidency by spending hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars on TV ads.”
— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) February 17, 2020
Previously Sanders tweeted: “The simple truth is that Mayor Bloomberg, with all his money, will not create the kind of excitement and energy we need to defeat Donald Trump.”
Bloomberg has focused his campaign on Colorado and other Super Tuesday states, spending more than $417 million of his own money so far, an unprecedented sum for any candidate in a primary.
At Sanders’s Sunday rally, the crowd cheered as the Vermont senator joked that Bloomberg is “struggling, he’s down to his last $60 billion” and derided him for skipping the early primary states.
Sanders has also criticized conservative positions Bloomberg has taken in the past, including opposing a minimum wage hike and a number of Barack Obama’s policies while president. On Saturday, Sanders suggested the former mayor’s past conservatism and controversial comments make him a weak candidate against US President Donald Trump
On Sunday, he was joined by the current mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, who endorsed the Vermont Senator days ago. De Blasio introduced Sanders with an attack of his own on his predecessor, telling the crowd, “I’m sorry to report to you the chief proponent of stop and frisk is now running for president.”
Democratic presidential candidates Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg have gone on the offensive against Bloomberg, in a sign of how seriously the field is starting to take him as he gains in the race and is on the cusp of qualifying for Wednesday’s Democratic debate in Las Vegas.
Klobuchar, speaking on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” accused Bloomberg of avoiding scrutiny by blanketing the airwaves and sidestepping debates or tough televised interviews.
“I think he cannot hide behind the airwaves and the money,” she said. “I think he has to come on the shows. And I personally think he should be on the debate stage.”
Klobuchar said she’s raised $12 million since her better-than-expected finish in third place in New Hampshire. She’s maintained her campaign through a series of strong debate performances and argued that Bloomberg being on stage with his rivals would level the playing field.
“I’m never going to beat him on the airwaves, but I can beat him on the debate stage,” she said.
Former vice president Biden, speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” suggested that Bloomberg will face increased scrutiny as the race continues, pointing to his record on issues relating to race. He said: “$60 billion can buy you a lot of advertising, but it can’t erase your record.”
Biden knocked Bloomberg’s past support of stop-and-frisk policing policies and his comments suggesting that cracking down on racist mortgage lending practices, known as “redlining,” contributed to the financial crisis.
Biden also criticized him for failing to endorse Obama for president in 2008. Bloomberg has released ads that tie him closely to Obama on issues like gun control and climate change.
When asked on MSNBC whether Bloomberg shares the values of the Democratic Party, Warren also went after the former mayor over his comments on redlining, declaring that “anyone who is out there trying to blame African Americans for the financial crash of 2008 … is not someone who should be representing our party.”
Even as the front-running candidates kept one eye on their Super Tuesday showdown with Bloomberg, they focused on the more immediate task of winning over minority voters, who are expected to be pivotal in Nevada and South Carolina.