Michael Bloomberg launched a series of Twitter attacks on Bernie Sanders Monday as the billionaire former New York mayor seeks to slow the Vermont senator’s march to the Democratic presidential nomination.
Bloomberg, a strong gun-control advocate, attacked Sanders over votes that were aligned with the position of the National Rifle Association.
The NRA paved the road to Washington for Bernie Sanders.— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) February 24, 2020
He spent the next three decades making sure they got a return on their investment.
We deserve a president who is not beholden to the gun lobby.#NotMeNRA pic.twitter.com/HLYZe4J5PM
Jeff Weaver, a senior adviser to Sanders, noted that Sanders has supported a ban on assault weapons, a controversial position in his state.
“The NRA never endorsed Bernie Sanders and he has never taken a dime of their money. In fact, he lost his 1988 congressional race because he backed an assault weapons ban,” Weaver said in a statement. “But even after that, Sanders maintained his opposition to these weapons of war.”
Bloomberg’s online ad was one of several promoted on his social media channels Monday that sought to draw a contrast between the two candidates on the issue of guns.
I’ve been the NRA’s #1 enemy for decades. Bernie’s been the NRA’s buddy for decades.— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) February 24, 2020
Who do we want to represent the Democratic Party? pic.twitter.com/I7vgubn1Hl
For his part, Sanders responded with a tweet saying Bloomberg “profits from private equity vultures and the destruction of the planet.” It linked to a story on the left-wing website the Intercept, which pieced together fragmentary details of how Bloomberg invests his $60 billion fortune.
We do not need a nominee who profits from private equity vultures and the destruction of the planet.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) February 24, 2020
We need someone who is willing to stand up for workers and will stop the greed of the fossil fuel industry.
Unlike Mr. Bloomberg, as president, that's exactly what I will do. https://t.co/Qsz8gRAxZ8
Bloomberg, who has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising that until now has been aimed mostly at President Trump, has not attacked any of the other Democratic candidates. His campaign is considering unleashing a wave of advertising against Sanders on a wide range of platforms, CNBC reported, although he has pledged to keep his massive campaign operation going through November, in support of the eventual Democratic nominee, whoever it is.
In another tweet, Bloomberg joined the chorus of criticism over Sanders’s praise on “60 Minutes” on Sunday for the literacy program of Cuba’s late communist dictator Fidel Castro.
Fidel Castro left a dark legacy of forced labor camps, religious repression, widespread poverty, firing squads, and the murder of thousands of his own people.— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) February 24, 2020
But sure, Bernie, let’s talk about his literacy program. pic.twitter.com/3Xqu435uoA
In his interview with “60 Minutes,” Sanders stopped short of saying he would refuse to accept money from Bloomberg should he win the nomination, but also noted that he wouldn’t need it to win in the general election.
“I don’t think we’re going to need that money because, interestingly enough, I think when you have an agenda as we have that speaks to the needs of working families, you’re going to have millions and millions and millions of people chipping in 10 bucks apiece, 50 bucks a piece, and that’s how you’re going to raise the money you need to defeat Trump,” Sanders said.
Before that happens, however, Sanders may be on the receiving end of millions of dollars worth of negative Bloomberg ads. As of last Friday, Bloomberg had spent $505.8 million promoting his candidacy.
Sanders notched an impressive victory in the Nevada caucuses and is rising in the polls in South Carolina, the next state to vote in the primary. Bloomberg, who entered the race in late November, will not be on the ballot until the March 3 Super Tuesday contests, comprising 14 states.
While Bloomberg’s rise in the polls appears to have been slowed by a poor showing in the Nevada debate, he will have a second opportunity to convince voters that he is a better choice than Sanders in a Tuesday debate in South Carolina.
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