Michael Bloomberg wasn’t on the stage during the seventh Democratic debate on Tuesday night, but his campaign certainly made his social media presence known with a barrage of increasingly bizarre tweets.
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The former New York City mayor’s official campaign account began by sharing benign facts about Bloomberg, like where he graduated from college (Johns Hopkins), but quickly veered into the eccentric, including sharing an image of a meatball with the 77-year-old’s face photoshopped on top of it, announcing that he would sing “Shallow” with Lady Gaga in lieu of an inaugural address and asking followers whether they thought a raccoon, ostrich or komodo dragon would be the “most fun” to drop on unsuspecting debate participants.
Although Twitter users initially speculated that Bloomberg had been hacked, his campaign confirmed that he was not. On his personal Twitter account, Bloomberg shared the meatball image, before pointing followers to a clip of President Trump’s campaign rally in Wisconsin, where he was gloating about his victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016.
“I think it's important that you see what @realDonaldTrump said to voters in Wisconsin tonight,” Bloomberg wrote. “Battleground states like Wisconsin will decide the 2020 election. This is not a joke.”
Charlie Gerow, a Republican media strategist based in Pennsylvania, told FOX Business the stunt is unlikely to impress -- or attract -- voters, who are looking for a serious candidate capable of confronting pressing challenges.
“It’s great to get their attention with goofy tactics, but ultimately, they want serious candidates who can confront the issues and deal with them every day,” he said.
Still, according to Roy Moskowitz, a political consultant and CEO of Reciprocal Results, a Staten Island-based company, Bloomberg’s gambit could help to soften his image.
“I think he’s just trying to make jokes,” he said. “Strategically, I don't know if that benefits him. It might soften his image. He has a rather dour image.”
Bloomberg is using his vast fortune — he’s worth an estimated $52 billion, according to Forbes, making him one of the richest people in the world — to power his unorthodox campaign and does not intend to accept donations, even though they could land him in debates. He is not participating in the Iowa caucuses and won't be on the ballots of other early-voting states, including New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, instead focusing on states that vote on Super Tuesday, March 3.
On Saturday, the New York Times reported that Bloomberg could spend as much as $1 billion of his own money on the presidential race, even if he doesn’t win the nomination.
“I don’t think he has a shot in a Democratic primary,” Moskowitz said. “If anything, he’s going to probably empower the more progressive candidates.”