Mike Bloomberg Bombed in the Nevada Democratic Primary Debate - Rolling Stone
Home Politics Politics News

The 4 Most-Brutal Moments for Mike Bloomberg During the Nevada Debate

The billionaire had his ass handed to him in his first showdown against his fellow candidates

Democratic Presidential candidate, former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, looks on at the start of the ninth Democratic presidential debate at the Paris Theater in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, 19 February 2020.Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas, USA - 19 Feb 2020

Mike Bloomberg looks on at the start of the ninth Democratic presidential debate, at the Paris Theater in Las Vegas.

ETIENNE LAURENT/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Mike Bloomberg made his debut on the debate stage Wednesday night. To put it kindly, it did not go well.

The former New York mayor has spent hundreds of millions of dollars of his personal fortune to buy his way into relevancy in the Democratic primary, but he appeared wholly unprepared for the onslaught of attacks from his fellow candidates in Las Vegas.

The field of Democrats essentially took turns teeing off on Bloomberg’s wealth, his history of sexual harassment, his Republican past, his racist mayoral tenure, and more. Bloomberg stumbled through retort after retort, drawing boos and groans from the audience on multiple occasions. Meanwhile, his opponents — particularly Elizabeth Warren, who landed several punishing blows — were cheered.

Here are four of the most notable exchanges.

1. Warren goes for the jugular out of the gate, calls Bloomberg an “arrogant billionaire”

Warren teased on Twitter earlier this week that she planned to go after Bloomberg in Las Vegas. She didn’t waste any time.

“I’d like to talk about who we are running against, a billionaire who calls women ‘fat broads’ and ‘horse-faced lesbians.'” she said. “And, no, I’m not talking about Donald Trump, I’m talking about Mayor Bloomberg.”

“Democrats take a huge risk if we just substitute one arrogant billionaire for another,” she added.

2. Warren eviscerates Bloomberg again, this time on sexual harassment NDAs

After Bloomberg touted his company’s culture, Warren unloaded on the former mayor’s treatment of female employees, some of whom have signed nondisclosure agreements for sexual harassment. “Mr. Mayor, are you willing to release all of those women from their nondisclosure agreements so we can hear their side of the story?” Warren asked, to sustained applause.

Bloomberg responded by claiming the NDAs were “maybe” related to jokes he made that the women didn’t like. The audience responded by groaning. Bloomberg then said the NDAs were signed “consensually.” More groans. Not good.

3. Bernie Sanders goes after Bloomberg’s wealth, Bloomberg calls everyone communists

Backed into a corner, Bloomberg resorted to labeling his competitors “communists.” This was a “cheap shot,” as Warren called it, but it demonstrated how the presence of the “centrist” billionaire — here channeling Trump — made it seem as if the other candidates were closely aligned. It was like a Republican heel had been thrown onstage as some sort of gimmick to spice things up.

This wasn’t far from the truth. As Pete Buttigieg pointed out, Bloomberg was in fact a Republican. Sanders also called out Bloomberg’s political past, noting that he supported George W. Bush’s re-election in 2004. The point came as Sanders criticized Bloomberg’s wealth, as Bloomberg responded that Sanders shouldn’t be mad because he was part of the Congress that wrote a tax code allowing multibillionaires like Bloomberg to pay a lower effective rate than the middle class.

“You did!” Sanders snapped back. “You and your campaign contributions electing people to represent the wealthy and the powerful.”

“Republicans too,” Sanders added in response to Bloomberg pointing out that some of those elected officials were Democrats. “And George W. Bush as well.”

Bloomberg resorted to another popular right-wing attack in addition to crying communism: claiming that Sanders identifying as a socialist is hypocritical because the senator isn’t poor. (According to Forbes, Bloomberg’s net worth is close to $70 billion, while Sanders’ is $2.5 million.)

Again, not a good look.

4. Joe Biden and Warren team up to call out Bloomberg over stop-and-frisk, Bloomberg defends it

Since he announced his candidacy, and especially in recent weeks, Bloomberg has been attacked for the stop-and-frisk policy he instituted as mayor of New York. The policy was inherently racist, deliberately targeting people of color in an effort to cut the crime rate. Whether it was successful is irrelevant considering it violated the constitutional rights of the minorities it targeted. “It’s not whether he apologized or not, it’s the policy,” Biden said on Wednesday. “The policy was abhorrent. It was a violation of every right people have.”

Bloomberg responded by saying the policy targeted too many people, an argument Warren expertly dismantled. “I do think this really is about leadership and accountability,” she said. “When the mayor says he apologized, listen very closely to the apology. The language he used is about how stop-and-frisk turned out. This isn’t about how it turned out, this is about what it was designed to do to begin with,” she said, to applause. “It targeted communities of color. It targeted black and brown men from the beginning.”

Despite an abysmal debate performance, Bloomberg remains in contention to land the Democratic nomination, especially considering his late entry into the competition. Prior to Wednesday, he was polling third nationally, a little more than a point behind Biden and more than 10 points behind Sanders. It’s anybody’s guess how his performance in Las Vegas will affect his support, but it’s hard to imagine it will help.

 

Newswire

Powered by
Arrow Created with Sketch. Calendar Created with Sketch. Path Created with Sketch. Shape Created with Sketch. Plus Created with Sketch. minus Created with Sketch.