News and Commentary

Trump Accuses Bloomberg Of Engaging In ‘Illegal’ Campaign Activities
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 07: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media prior to his Marine One departure from the White House February 7, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Trump is traveling to Charlotte, North Carolina, to speaks at a “North Carolina Opportunity Now” summit.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Donald Trump accused Democrat presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg on Tuesday of engaging in a “large-scale illegal campaign contribution.”

“What Mini Mike is doing is nothing less than a large scale illegal campaign contribution,” Trump tweeted. “He is ‘spreading’ money all over the place, only to have recipients of his cash payments, many former opponents, happily joining or supporting his campaign. Isn’t that called a payoff?”

“Mini is illegally buying the Democrat Nomination,” Trump continued. “They are taking it away from Bernie again. Mini Mike, Major Party Nominations are not for sale! Good luck in the debate tomorrow night and remember, no standing on boxes!”

Bloomberg, who responded on Twitter, did not deny the vague allegation from Trump that he was engaged in illegal campaign activities but instead suggested that Trump was wanting to run against socialist Bernie Sanders.

“Why do you want to run against Bernie so badly?” Bloomberg responded.

Trump replied, “Mini Mike. No, I would rather run against you!”

Trump’s accusation against Bloomberg did not specify any particular statute that Bloomberg was violating and the allegation likely came in response to a New York Times report on how Bloomberg essentially buys support from powerful people.

The New York Times reported:

Since leaving City Hall at the end of 2013, Mr. Bloomberg has become the single most important political donor to the Democratic Party and its causes. His personal fortune, built on a financial information and news company, is estimated at over $60 billion. It fuels an advocacy network that has directed policy in dozens of states and cities; mobilized movements to take on gun violence and climate change; rewritten election laws and health regulations; and elected scores of politicians to offices as modest as the school board and as lofty as the Senate.

But The Times’s examination — based on a review of years of campaign and nonprofit tax filings, as well as interviews with more than 50 people who have benefited from his support — illustrates how deeply that philanthropy is entwined with Mr. Bloomberg’s political preoccupations. In fact, in 2019, the year he declared his presidential candidacy, Mr. Bloomberg’s charitable giving soared to $3.3 billion — more than in the previous five years combined.

It is not simply good will that Mr. Bloomberg has built. His political and philanthropic spending has also secured the allegiance or cooperation of powerful institutions and leaders within the Democratic Party who might take issue with parts of his record were they not so reliant on his largess.

In interviews with The Times, no one described being threatened or coerced by Mr. Bloomberg or his money. But many said his wealth was an inescapable consideration — a gravitational force powerful enough to make coercion unnecessary.

Paul S. Ryan, vice president of policy and litigation at the good-government group Common Cause, told the Times, “They aren’t going to criticize him in his 2020 run because they don’t want to jeopardize receiving financial support from him in the future.”

Democrat presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren called Bloomberg, who has spent over $400 million so far on his campaign, an “egomaniac billionaire” on Tuesday.

“It’s a shame Mike Bloomberg can buy his way into the debate,” Warren said on Twitter. “But at least now primary voters curious about how each candidate will take on Donald Trump can get a live demonstration of how we each take on an egomaniac billionaire.”