Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant Democrats urge Biden to commute sentences of 4K people on home confinement Briahna Joy Gray: Push toward major social spending amid pandemic was 'short-lived' MORE (I-Vt.) tore into former New York City Mayor 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 on Friday over news of Bloomberg's $31.5 million ad buy as he mulls his own White House bid.
“I’m disgusted by the idea that Michael Bloomberg or any other billionaire thinks they can circumvent the political process and spend tens of millions of dollars to buy our elections. It’s just the latest example of a rigged political system that we are going to change when we’re in the White House,” Sanders said in a statement.
“If you can’t build grassroots support for your candidacy, you have no business running for president. The American people are sick and tired of the power of billionaires, and I suspect they won’t react well to someone trying to buy an election.”
The broadside came after Bloomberg, who is worth roughly $50 billion, threw down over $31 million for a weeklong ad blitz that will be featured in 98 local markets as well as some national cable channels. The purchase is the largest of any candidate ever in a single week of political advertising.
The minute-long ads will start airing Monday and run through Dec. 2.
Sanders, a longtime progressive, has centered his campaign around the influence of the “top 1 percent,” referring to the power millionaires and billionaires hold in the country’s politics.
Sanders’s rebuke hints that Bloomberg’s immense wealth and ability to dig through a bottomless war chest to blanket the airwaves with ads could emerge as a top line of attack for other liberal candidates in the primary field.
The former mayor is mulling a 2020 run and has already filed paperwork to appear as a candidates in a handful of states’ primary races. On Thursday, the 77-year-old filed federal paperwork to run for president, but Bloomberg's camp has said that the move was only “procedural” and that it wasn't an official announcement of his candidacy.