Donald TrumpDonald TrumpOvernight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Interior returns BLM HQ to Washington France pulls ambassadors to US, Australia in protest of submarine deal MORE says he hopes Michael BloombergMichael BloombergWithout drastic changes, Democrats are on track to lose big in 2022 Bidens, former presidents mark 9/11 anniversary The tragedy of 9/11 — an inflection point in American history MORE launches an independent bid for the White House so that he can beat him in the general election.
“I’d beat him and I’d love him to do it actually, I love the competition,” the GOP front-runner said in a Monday interview on CNN’s "Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."
“I love the competition. I’d love for Michael to do it. We used to be friends. I don’t know if we’re friends anymore, I don’t think we are. But we used to be friends, good friends,” he added.
Over the weekend, The New York Times reported that Bloomberg, the former three-term mayor of New York City and billionaire financial services entrepreneur, is considering spending up to $1 billion of his own fortune to fund a third-party bid for president.
The report said Bloomberg is most likely to run if Trump or Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) appear poised to win the GOP nomination and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) continues running strong against Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side.
Trump on Monday said he doubts Bloomberg will run, and sought to diminish his wealth and company, which among other services offers computer terminals and market data for investment bankers.
Blitzer confronted the real estate tycoon with figures claiming that Bloomberg controls a $36.5 billion empire, compared to Trump, who is only worth about $4 billion.
“I don’t believe it,” Trump replied. “I don’t believe that. It’s a technology company and if someone came in frankly and comes up with a better machine than his, people stop using it frankly.”
Trump alleged that competitors were potentially scared away from challenging Bloomberg in that market because he could have taken retribution as mayor.
“I don’t even know why other companies haven’t come up with a better machine,” he said. “Why? So simple they come up with — it’s such a competitive world but for some reason they haven’t come up with a machine. I don’t know. Maybe it’s because he’s the mayor of New York. But they haven’t come up and it’s so easy to do, you would think. I think it’s very fragile. I like real estate better.”
Trump boasted that right now, at least, he’s the only candidate self-funding his campaign, and accused his rivals of being in the pockets of special interests.
Trump said Cruz, who has emerged as his chief rival for the GOP nomination, is controlled by “big oil,” and mocked former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and his allies for spending tens of millions and yet continuing to struggle in the polls.
“What Jeb Bush has done to the Bush family is very sad,” he said. “Here’s a guy spends over $100 million and he’s nowhere. I mean he’s — I think he’s disgraced himself, to be honest with you. But you have all these people, whether Jeb or Hillary or anybody—- they’re all controlled by the people who give them money. I’m putting up my money, I’m self-funding, which is very nice.”