Sanders: Potential Bloomberg run shows 'arrogance of billionaires'

Sanders: Potential Bloomberg run shows 'arrogance of billionaires'

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersNew campaign ad goes after Sanders by mentioning heart attack Biden on whether Sanders can unify party as nominee: 'It depends' Steyer rebukes Biden for arguing with supporter he thought was Sanders voter MORE (I-Vt.) on Saturday night strongly condemned former New York Mayor Michael BloombergMichael Rubens BloombergPoll: 56 percent of Democrats say billionaire politicians more likely to cater to special interests Support for Biden, Sanders ticks up nationally: poll Tim Gunn endorses Bloomberg, joins his LGBTQ+ leadership council MORE over the possibility that he may launch a 2020 presidential campaign, saying that the move displayed the "arrogance of billionaires."

Sanders made the statement in an interview with ABC News following an Iowa campaign rally in which he appeared alongside first-term Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezBiden lines up high-profile surrogates to campaign in Iowa New economic confidence polls show why Bernie won't win the White House Ocasio-Cortez rips 'public charge' decision: 'The American Dream isn't a private club with a cover charge' MORE (D-N.Y.). 

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"I'm doing five events this weekend right here in Iowa. We're all over New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada, California. But he's too important," Sanders said, referring to reports that Bloomberg would not aggressively compete in the first four voting states.  "You see, when you're worth $50 billion, I guess you don't have to have town meetings, you don't have to talk to ordinary people. What you do is you take out, I guess a couple of billion dollars, and you buy the state of California."

The comments from Sanders came just a day after Bloomberg, a billionaire businessman, filed as a candidate for the Alabama Democratic presidential primary, a first step in a potential 2020 White House bid. 

While Bloomberg has not made a final decision on whether to run, the move has led to mounting questions about how his candidacy could impact the crowded 2020 Democratic primary field. 

Bloomberg's centrist views align with former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenPerry delegation talking points stressed pushing Ukraine to deal with 'corruption' GOP senator airs anti-Biden ad in Iowa amid impeachment trial Biden photobombs live national news broadcast at one of his rallies MORE and South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegBiden on whether Sanders can unify party as nominee: 'It depends' Biden lines up high-profile surrogates to campaign in Iowa Hill.TV's Krystal Ball: Failure to embrace Sanders as nominee would 'destroy' Democratic Party MORE. Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenBiden on whether Sanders can unify party as nominee: 'It depends' Overnight Health Care — Presented by Philip Morris International — HHS has no plans to declare emergency over coronavirus | GOP senator calls for travel ban to stop outbreak | Warren releases plan to contain infectious diseases Biden lines up high-profile surrogates to campaign in Iowa MORE (D-Mass.), the leading progressives in the race, have clear ideological differences with Bloomberg.  

Sanders also addressed a possible Bloomberg run during a campaign rally in Iowa, suggesting that the businessman was trying to buy an election. 

“Tonight we say to Michael Bloomberg and other billionaires: Sorry, you ain’t gonna buy this election,” Sanders said, according to The Washington Post

Sanders has made combatting inequality and reigning in financial excess among massive corporations a staple of his campaign for president. He often rails against billionaires and what he views as a system that doesn't tax them enough. 

Warren, who has echoed many of those talking points, has also taken issue with a possible Bloomberg candidacy.

“The wealthy and well connected are scared,” Warren’s campaign said in an email to supporters as news broke that Bloomberg was considering a run. “They're scared that under a Warren presidency, they would no longer have a government that caters to their every need. So they're doing whatever they can to try to stop Elizabeth and our movement from winning in 2020 and bringing big, structural change in 2021.”

Bloomberg announced in March that he would not seek the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. At the time, he cautioned the party against choosing a candidate that would “drag the party to an extreme that would diminish our chances in the general election.”