Elizabeth Warren tore into her newest 2020 rival, Michael Bloomberg, for launching his late White House bid with a $37 million advertising blitz, accusing the former New York City mayor of trying to buy the presidential election.
One day after Bloomberg announced his entry into the Democratic presidential field as a moderate — the 77-year-old billionaire has decided to not raise money for his bid and will instead use his own wealth to finance his campaign — Warren denounced his nascent campaign during an event with voters in Iowa on Monday.
“Bloomberg is making a bet on democracy in 2020,” the Massachusetts senator said. “He’s saying he doesn’t need people, he only needs bags and bags of money. I think Michael Bloomberg is wrong, and that’s what we need to prove in this election.”
Bloomberg spent at least $37 million for two weeks of television ads, a preview of how his vast personal fortune could become a major factor in the Democratic presidential race. The scope of Bloomberg’s ad buy is staggering, more than all of his potential rivals (besides billionaire Tom Steyer) have spent on ads all year, according to The New York Times.
“His view is he doesn’t need people who knock on doors,” Warren said. “He doesn't need to go out and campaign with people. He doesn't need volunteers. If you go out and knock on 1,000 doors, we’ll just spend another $37 million to flood the airways. And that's how he plans to buy a nomination in the Democratic Party.”
With his money — he’s the world’s eighth-richest person, worth an estimated $52 billion, according to Forbes — and name recognition, Bloomberg is emerging as a disruptor to the Democratic primary, toppling former Vice President Joe Biden as the favored candidate among moderates while sharpening the divide between the progressive candidates like Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Bloomberg has been outspoken against Warren and Sanders' intention to hike taxes on extremely rich Americans. Warren has called for a 2 percent tax on those worth $50 million and a 6 percent levy on Americans worth more than $1 billion. Under her proposal, Bloomberg would be required to pay $3.16 billion in taxes, according to a tax calculator released by her campaign.
Sanders has also been quick to criticize Bloomberg's use of his personal fortune to sway the race.
“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," the Vermont senator said.
A Republican-turned-Democrat, Bloomberg co-founded the financial information and media company Bloomberg LP in 1981. He now owns about 88 percent of the business, according to Forbes, which is worth a reported $10 billion. Over his lifetime, he’s donated roughly $8 billion to charity, or 13 percent of his total net worth.