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Sanders: Potential Bloomberg run shows 'arrogance of billionaires'

Sanders: Potential Bloomberg run shows 'arrogance of billionaires'

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Goldman Sachs - Tipping point week for Trump, Biden, Congress, voters Biden and Schumer face battles with left if Democrats win big Push to expand Supreme Court faces Democratic buzzsaw MORE (I-Vt.) on Saturday night strongly condemned former New York Mayor Michael BloombergMichael BloombergEverytown hits GOP on gun safety in closing .5M battleground ad barrage A closing argument: Why voters cannot trust Trump on healthcare Biden campaign swamps Trump on TV airwaves 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-CortezOVERNIGHT ENERGY: EPA may violate courts with new rule extending life of unlined coal ash ponds | Trump reverses course, approving assistance for California wildfires | Climate change, national security among topics for final Trump-Biden debate Biden distances himself from Green New Deal during town hall Ocasio-Cortez, progressives call on Senate not to confirm lobbyists or executives to future administration posts 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 BidenNearly 300 former national security officials sign Biden endorsement letter Trump narrows Biden's lead in Pennsylvania: poll Florida breaks first-day early voting record with 350K ballots cast MORE and South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegButtigieg says it's time to 'turn the page' on Trump administration Sunday shows preview: Coronavirus cases surge in the Midwest; Trump hits campaign trail after COVID-19 Biden town hall questioner worked as speechwriter in Obama administration: report MORE. Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOvernight Health Care: Trump takes criticism of Fauci to a new level | GOP Health Committee chairman defends Fauci | Birx confronted Pence about Atlas Senate Democrats call for ramped up Capitol coronavirus testing Government watchdog to investigate allegations of Trump interference at CDC, FDA 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.”