Trump accuses Bloomberg of 'illegally buying' Democratic nomination

President TrumpDonald TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - White House, Dems play blame game over evictions The Memo: Left pins hopes on Nina Turner in Ohio after recent defeats Biden administration to keep Trump-era rule of turning away migrants during pandemic MORE on Tuesday accused former New York City Mayor Michael BloombergMichael BloombergBipartisan infrastructure win shows Democrats must continue working across the aisle WHO leader issues warning on 'harmful' e-cigarettes Six months in, two challenges could define Biden's presidency MORE of trying to “illegally” buy the Democratic nomination for president, taking aim at the billionaire businessman’s massive self-funding operation. 

“What Mini Mike is doing is nothing less than a large scale illegal campaign contribution. 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?” Trump tweeted Tuesday afternoon.

“Mini is illegally buying the Democrat Nomination,” Trump tweeted, repeating his claim that the Democratic Party is trying “again” to take the election away from Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - White House, Dems play blame game over evictions The Memo: Left pins hopes on Nina Turner in Ohio after recent defeats Five things to watch in two Ohio special election primaries MORE (I-Vt.) and mocking Bloomberg for his height.  

ADVERTISEMENT

Trump’s remarks come as Bloomberg, who has been funding his campaign with hundreds of millions of his own money, is rising in the polls. Federal candidates who fund their own campaigns do not face restrictions on how much they can spend of their own money in order to win an election. 

Bloomberg replied shortly thereafter on Twitter, asking Trump: "Why do you want to run against Bernie so badly?" Trump responded that he'd prefer Bloomberg as his general election opponent:

ADVERTISEMENT

Sanders won the New Hampshire primary and came in a close second in Iowa, while Bloomberg, who entered the race late, has declined to participate in the early state while spending heavily in those voting on Super Tuesday and after.

Meanwhile, Trump has frequently taken aim at Bloomberg, with whom he previously had a friendly relationship before winning the White House in 2016. The two traded insults on Twitter last week, with Trump calling Bloomberg a “mass of dead energy” and the former mayor returning fire by labeling the president a “carnival barking clown.” 

Bloomberg on Tuesday qualified for Wednesday’s Democratic debate in Nevada, which would mark his first appearance on the debate stage.

—Updated at 5:05 p.m.