Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDecember Democratic debate venue switched to Loyola Marymount University Strategists say Warren ‘Medicare for All’ plan could appeal to centrists Ocasio-Cortez: Exxon Mobil ‘knew exactly what it was doing’ MORE (I-Vt.) on Saturday night strongly condemned former New York Mayor Michael BloombergMichael Rubens BloombergActor Robert De Niro: Trump must be ‘held accountable’ with impeachment inquiry Scaramucci: Trump sees Bloomberg as threat Biden brushes off Bloomberg challenge: ‘I’m pretty far ahead’ MORE over the possibility that he may launch a 2020 presidential campaign, saying that the move displayed the “arrogance of billionaires.”
Sanders made the statement in an interview with ABC News following an Iowa campaign rally in which he appeared alongside first-term Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez: Exxon Mobil ‘knew exactly what it was doing’ Bloomberg run should push Warren to the center — but won’t Jane Fonda participates in DC climate change protest for 5th straight week MORE (D-N.Y.).
“I’m doing five events this weekend right here in Iowa. We’re all over New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada, California. But he’s too important,” Sanders said, referring to reports that Bloomberg would not aggressively compete in the first four voting states. “You see, when you’re worth $50 billion, I guess you don’t have to have town meetings, you don’t have to talk to ordinary people. What you do is you take out, I guess a couple of billion dollars, and you buy the state of California.”
The comments from Sanders came just a day after Bloomberg, a billionaire businessman, filed as a candidate for the Alabama Democratic presidential primary, a first step in a potential 2020 White House bid.
While Bloomberg has not made a final decision on whether to run, the move has led to mounting questions about how his candidacy could impact the crowded 2020 Democratic primary field.
Bloomberg’s centrist views align with former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenDecember Democratic debate venue switched to Loyola Marymount University Biden expresses shock that Trump considers attending Russia May Day event Strategists say Warren ‘Medicare for All’ plan could appeal to centrists MORE and South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegDecember Democratic debate venue switched to Loyola Marymount University Actor Robert De Niro: Trump must be ‘held accountable’ with impeachment inquiry Buttigieg acknowledges ‘struggle’ with racial inequality in South Bend police force, calling it a ‘national challenge’ MORE. Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenDecember Democratic debate venue switched to Loyola Marymount University Strategists say Warren ‘Medicare for All’ plan could appeal to centrists JPMorgan CEO: Notion I’m not a patriot ‘dead wrong’ MORE (D-Mass.), the leading progressives in the race, have clear ideological differences with Bloomberg.
Sanders also addressed a possible Bloomberg run during a campaign rally in Iowa, suggesting that the businessman was trying to buy an election.
“Tonight we say to Michael Bloomberg and other billionaires: Sorry, you ain’t gonna buy this election,” Sanders said, according to The Washington Post.
Sanders has made combatting inequality and reigning in financial excess among massive corporations a staple of his campaign for president. He often rails against billionaires and what he views as a system that doesn’t tax them enough.
Warren, who has echoed many of those talking points, has also taken issue with a possible Bloomberg candidacy.
“The wealthy and well connected are scared,” Warren’s campaign said in an email to supporters as news broke that Bloomberg was considering a run. “They’re scared that under a Warren presidency, they would no longer have a government that caters to their every need. So they’re doing whatever they can to try to stop Elizabeth and our movement from winning in 2020 and bringing big, structural change in 2021.”
Bloomberg announced in March that he would not seek the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. At the time, he cautioned the party against choosing a candidate that would “drag the party to an extreme that would diminish our chances in the general election.”