Mike Bloomberg in 2016: Elizabeth Warren ‘Scary’; I Would ‘Defend the Banks’

Former New York Mayor and Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg speaks about his plan for clean energy during a campaign event at the Blackwall Hitch restaurant in Alexandria, Virginia on December 13, 2019. (Photo by Olivier Douliery / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)
OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images

Behind closed doors at a private event in 2016, Mike Bloomberg called Democrat nomination rival Elizabeth Warren “scary,” and assured the banks that he was on their side.

“The left is arising,” Bloomberg warned his audience during his speech at the 2016 event. “The progressive movement is just as scary,” he said. “Elizabeth Warren on one side. And whoever you want to pick on the Republicans on the right side?”

Bloomberg worried that society would “blow up” if income inequality was not addressed. “Well, to start, my first campaign platform would be to defend the banks, and you know how well that’s gonna sell in this country,” Bloomberg said in his remarks. “But seriously,” he went on:

Somebody’s gotta stand up and do what we need. A healthy banking system that’s going to take risks because that’s what creates the jobs for everybody. And nobody’s willing to say that. The trouble is, these campaigns in this day and age, really are about slogans and not about issues anymore. And in this election you’re going to see people are voting and they either love or hate, mostly hate both, but who you hate the least. That’s what they’re going to vote for. And they’re not going to vote on issues.

Later, Bloomberg mused on the advantages of being president of the United States. “It would have been a great job,” he said. “No, I mean, you think about it, you have predators, and the predators have missiles, and I have a list of everybody that’s annoyed me or screwed me for the last 74 years, and bang-bang-bang-bang.”

Bloomberg campaign spokesperson Stu Loeser called the past comments a “joke,” telling CNN, “The opening line was a joke … In the more serious parts of the speech, Mike tells very wealthy Americans that they need to break their addiction to cheap money that’s exacerbating income inequality in America.”

He also had a dim view of Congress, and a blunt strategy to make them work. “The ways you get Congress to work for you is the ways you deal with your family,” Bloomberg said. “You bribe them. You say to your kid, you say to your kid to ‘clean your room or you don’t get your allowance.’ That’s a bribe, I’m sorry.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign seized on the news, accusing Bloomberg of remaining a “Republican at heart.”

“Now we know that behind closed doors, Bloomberg described his last-minute endorsement of President Obama in 2012 as ‘very backhanded’ and said that he thought ‘Romney would be a better person at doing’ the ‘things that I think are important,'” Biden campaign spokesperson Andrew Bates said in a statement. “Bloomberg may have changed his voter registration, but he’s still a Republican at heart.”

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