New York billionaire Mike Bloomberg was savaged by his Democratic rivals on his first debate on the presidential campaign trail.
Bloomberg, the former New York mayor who was once a Republican, was forced to defend his record and past comments related to race, gender and his personal wealth in a rocky debate stage debut in Las Vegas.
Bernie Sanders lashed out at Bloomberg’s policing policies as New York City mayor that he said targeted “African-American and Latinos in an outrageous way”.
Elizabeth Warren made repeated attacks on Bloomberg. She raised issues such as his vast wealth, his offensive remarks about policing of minorities and demeaning comments about women, including those who worked at his company.
Warren labelled Bloomberg “a billionaire who calls people fat broads and horse-faced lesbians”.
Meanwhile, former vice president Joe Biden alleged that Bloomberg’s “stop-and-frisk” policy ended up “throwing five million black men up against the wall”.
After the debate, Warren told reporters: “I have no doubt that Michael Bloomberg is reaching in his pocket right now, and spending another hundred million dollars to try to erase every American’s memory about what happened on the debate stage.”
Bloomberg faltered when attacked on issues related to race and gender. But he was firm and unapologetic about his wealth.
He took particular aim at Sanders. Referencing the Vermont senator’s his self-description as a democratic socialist, he said “the best known socialist in the country happens to be a millionaire with three houses”.
Bloomberg is worth over $60bn.
Sanders defended owning multiple houses, noting he has one in Washington where he works, and two in Vermont, the state he represents in the Senate.
Sanders, is emerging as the frontrunner in the Democrats’ nomination fight, much to the dismay of the party’s establishment.
We need your help ...
The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.
Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.
We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.
Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?