When ABC News told Bernie Sanders that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg may run for president because he did not like the current field of candidates, the senator from Vermont responded, “That is the arrogance of billionaires.”
Sanders then went on to criticize the reported plans of the not-yet announced billionaire to skip the first primary states if and when he enters the race.
“I’m doing five events this weekend right here in Iowa,” Sanders continued. “We’re all over New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada, California. But he’s too important. 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.”
Sanders added, “But I happen to believe that the American people are sick and tired of the power and arrogance of a billionaire class which increasingly controls not only the economic life of this country, but the political life of this country.”
The senator was joined by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who is campaigning with candidate in Iowa. Unsurprisingly, she wasn’t keen on the idea of of a Bloomberg candidacy.
First she took the former mayor to task for his support of NYC’s stop-and-frisk policies that have been criticized for being ineffective, discriminatory and racist. And she spoke about how the measures affected her personally.
“To this day, he still defends his policy of stop-and-frisk, which impacted families like mine,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “It was my cousins and my friends that were stopped on the New York City subway system and racially profiled and patted down and thrown into jail for low-level marijuana offenses.” Then she went on to agree with Sanders’s take on the super rich entering the presidential race.
“I don’t think billionaires should be president right now,” Ocasio-Cortez added. “I don’t think that that’s what this country needs, and I think that is going to take us further in the direction of wealth and political power concentrating at the very, very top of our country. And I think that our democracy should be for everyday people, not for purchase.”
The reporter also asked if the congresswoman were old enough to run, would Sanders ask her to join his ticket. Ocasio-Cortez laughed and Sanders showered her with praise, then said, “If I am in the White House, she will play a very, very important role, no question, in one way or the other.”