Nancy Pelosi gives boost to Michael Bloomberg's fortune-funded 2020 campaign

Trying to describe Democrats as socialists, president says they're just 'taking their cues from "Crazy Bernie"'

John T. Bennett
Washington
Tuesday 11 February 2020 21:56
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Pelosi gives nudge to Bloomberg's bid

As Michael Bloomberg's presidential bid encounters the first major headwinds – including allegations from Donald Trump that he's a "racist" – the former New York mayor got an assist from Washington on Tuesday.

Audio and video recordings are circulating social media sites from Mr Bloomberg's time as the Big Apple's chief executive in which he defends sending more NYPD officers into communities with large minority populations. "That's where the crime is," Mr Bloomberg is heard saying.

Those recordings allowed the president to do what he does best: Attack and shower a political rival in potentially damaging allegations – with scant supporting evidence.

"As far as Michael Bloomberg is concerned, I think that his involvement in this campaign will be a positive one," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters.

Standing to her left, Chuck Schumer – Mr Bloomberg's fellow-New Yorker – did not react or give a similar voice of support.

The former New York City chief executive sat out the Iowa Caucuses and is not on the ballot in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary. He won't be until voters have him as an option in the Super Tuesday states – and beyond.

Ms Pelosi was responding to a reporter's question about whether Mr Bloomberg might use his personal fortune to spend perhaps $1 billion to "upend" the Democratic primary race, which has no clear frontrunner and a self-described "democratic-socialist," Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders positioning himself in the lead spot.

Asked about their comfort level with a socialist possibly topping their party's ticket, Mr Schumer sidestepped.

"Primaries are primaries and there's always lots of sturm and drang," Mr Schumner replied. "You will see in a few months, Democrats will be strongly united together and we will be focused like a laser on beating Donald Trump. The enthusiasm you last saw in 2008 to elect Barack Obama, you will see this summer and fall to get Donald Trump out of office."

Mr Schumer may still be proven correct. But voter turnout in Iowa last week among Democrats was down from four years ago.

In the meantime, Mr Trump is busily trying to paint the entire Democratic Party as having shifted to the "extreme left."

"Remember, these Washington Democrats have never been more extreme, taking their cues from 'Crazy Bernie,'" Mr Trump said on Monday night at a campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, where he urged his Republican supporters to vote in the Democratic primary to disrupt the final vote tally and used his favourite mocking nickname for the senator.

"One hundred, thirty-two congressional Democrats have signed up for Bernie's health care takeover that would strip 180 million Americans of their very, very coveted private [health] coverage," Mr Trump said without supporting data. "The Democrat Party wants to run your health care, but they can't even run a caucus in Iowa."

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