Trump weighs in on Bloomberg's likely presidential run; analysts split on his prospect

2019-11-09 03:03:19 GMT2019-11-09 11:03:19(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

WASHINGTON, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday weighed in on billionaire Michael Bloomberg's likely presidential run, as political analysts are split on the former New York City mayor's prospect.

"I know Michael. He became just a nothing," Trump told reporters outside the White House, adding that there's nobody he would rather run against than Bloomberg.

The president also said he believes a Bloomberg campaign would likely damage former Vice President Joe Biden, a top-tier Democratic presidential contender, who's running as a moderate.

"He's not going to do well, but I think he's going to hurt Biden, actually, but he doesn't have the magic to do well," Trump said of Bloomberg.

News broke out on Thursday that Bloomberg, 77, was preparing to file paperwork to declare himself a candidate in the Alabama presidential primary ahead of Friday's deadline.

Bloomberg was doing this to keep his options open because he's concerned about what he's seeing both from the Democrats and Trump, according to NBC News, citing a source close to him.

In a series of tweets on Thursday, Howard Wolfson, a top advisor to Bloomberg, said the billionaire will "offer a new choice to Democrats" if he decides to run.

"We now need to finish the job and ensure that Trump is defeated -- but Mike is increasingly concerned that the current field of candidates is not well-positioned to do that," Wolfson said.

A co-founder of financial information and media company Bloomberg LP and a philanthropist devoted to gun control, climate change and other causes, Bloomberg also served as mayor of New York City from 2002 to 2013 for three terms.

Currently, Forbes is placing Bloomberg's net worth at some 52 billion U.S. dollars. Since he is one of the world's wealthiest individuals, his campaign could focus more on promoting proposals than on fundraising.

However, if Bloomberg were to run, he would almost certainly be a target for progressive rivals such as Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who have been running populist campaigns advocating that the rich should pay more taxes.

"Just what America need... another billionaire using his wealth to try to buy an election," Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, who's running for president the second time, said in a message to supporters on Friday.

Joe Lockhart, former White House press secretary during the Clinton administration, tweeted on Friday that he "can't see a scenario" where Bloomberg would get the Democratic nomination.

"I personally don't think I'd vote for him in the NY primary, but his contributions on gun control and climate change should earn him the respect of Democrats rather than ridicule even if you don't support him," Lockhart added.

Political commentator Bill Kristol tweeted on Friday that Bloomberg's chances "are being underrated by my fellow commenters."

"He surely has an uphill road. Still, the fact that he actually is well qualified to be president might matter more to voters than tweeters think," Kristol noted.

Bloomberg, who had been a registered Republican and independent, as well as a Democrat, re-registered as a Democrat one month before the party took back the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterms.

He has previously flirted with running for president in several election cycles and said earlier this year that he would not seek the White House.

After several rounds of primary debates, the Democratic presidential field remains crowded, with 17 contenders still campaigning.

According to the RealClearPolitics national Democratic primary polling average, Biden is currently leading at 28.3 percent, followed by Warren and Sanders, with 20.6 percent and 17.6 percent, respectively.

However, in polls of the early nominating states Iowa and New Hampshire, seen as crucial for generating momentum in the race, Biden often trails Warren and Sanders.

"Much of Biden's strength is among African-Americans and non-college whites," tweeted David Axelrod, director of the University of Chicago's Institute of Politics. "Not immediately clear that any of this vote rushes to Bloomberg."

"The mayor is a formidable person, well-known with infinite resources. But his path here is not obvious," Axelrod said.