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Super Tuesday: Michael Bloomberg says he will eat at Chinese restaurant to show solidarity over coronavirus

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Michael Bloomberg has said he will eat at a Chinese restaurant in the coming days to show solidarity with businesses who have been hit by public fears about coronavirus.

The multi-billionaire and Democratic presidential candidate made the pledge during a Fox News town hall event in Virginia as he hopes to kickstart his 2020 campaign with a strong performance in Super Tuesday this week.

Democratic presidential candidate, former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg speaks during a Fox News town hall: Getty Images
Democratic presidential candidate, former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg speaks during a Fox News town hall: Getty Images

Mr Bloomberg was asked by Fox News’ Bret Baier how he would deal with the impact of coronavirus on the US economy.

“It’s not the economics, it’s the people that are afraid to go out,” he replied, as he argued financial solutions, such as tax cuts, were not the only way to help businesses during the outbreak.

“Go to Chinese restaurants all across the country here in America, where there’s no reason to think whatsoever that you’re going to catch the flu but people aren’t patronising them.”

Mr Bloomberg added: “I thought to myself tonight, ‘I’m going to go to a Chinese restaurant’ — it actually turns out I can’t — but I will do it tomorrow night just to show the flag and help them.”

The 78-year-old businessman has based his unconventional campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination on winning big on Tuesday, when voting takes place in 14 states.

Mr Bloomberg has opted to ignore early states, such as Iowa and New Hampshire, which are normally seen as an indicator of who will win the nomination, and has spent vast sums of money from his personal fortune to fund his campaign.

The former mayor of New York has spent more than $501m (£392m) on television, radio and digital advertising since entering the race, according to CNN.

On Sunday night, he broadcast a three-minute advert on the coronavirus outbreak that mimicked a presidential TV address and reportedly cost more than $1.5m.

Critics of the businessman have accused him of attempting to buy the nomination with his personal wealth, by ignoring traditional campaign events and spending huge amounts of money on advertising.

During a bruising Democratic debate last month, Mr Bloomberg was also targeted by another Democratic candidate, Elizabeth Warren, over his past comments about women and the use of non-disclosure agreements at his company.

“I’d like to talk about who we are running against. A billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse-faced lesbians. And no, I am not talking about Donald Trump. I am talking about Mayor Bloomberg,” Ms Warren said during the debate.

“Look, I’ll support whoever the Democratic nominee is, but understand this, Democrats take a huge risk if we just substitute one arrogant billionaire for another.”

As of Tuesday morning, Mr Bloomberg was in third place in the Democratic race, according to a polling average from RealClearPolitics.

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