President Trump and Michael Bloomberg exchanged a series of insults online Tuesday morning after the president lambasted his potential Democratic challenger as a “mass of dead energy” who’s purposely skirting the primary debate stage.
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"Mini Mike is a 5’4” mass of dead energy who does not want to be on the debate stage with these professional politicians," Trump wrote in a tweet. "No boxes please. He hates Crazy Bernie and will, with enough money, possibly stop him. Bernie’s people will go nuts!"
The three-time New York City mayor responded in less than an hour, slamming Trump's business legacy and vowing to defeat him in November, should he become the Democratic nominee.
"We know many of the same people in NY," he wrote. "Behind your back they laugh at you & call you a carnival barking clown. They know you inherited a fortune & squandered it with stupid deals and incompetence. I have the record & the resources to defeat you. And I will."
One of the richest men in the world, Bloomberg is financing his own campaign and has already neared $350 million on ads, according to ad-tracking firm Advertising Analytics. His unprecedented strategy to skip the four early-voting states and instead concentrate on the slew of delegates up for grabs on Super Tuesday means that his campaign is so far untested.
Bloomberg could appear on the debate stage for the first time in Las Vegas next week, after the Democratic National Committee changed its qualifying rules to drop the requirement that a candidate must ascertain a certain number of unique donors, prompting complaints from his 2020 rivals. Trump maintained that Bloomberg has "zero presence," comparing him to his 2016 rival for the Republican nomination, Jeb Bush.
"Mini Mike Bloomberg is a LOSER who has money but can’t debate and has zero presence, you will see," Trump wrote. "He reminds me of a tiny version of Jeb “Low Energy” Bush, but Jeb has more political skill and has treated the Black community much better than Mini!"
The reference to the black community appeared to be a swipe about audio from 2015, which resurfaced earlier in the week, that revealed Bloomberg defending "stop and frisk," the controversial policing strategy that disproportionately targets men of color. Trump has previously said he supports "stop and frisk," though he called Bloomberg a racist in a since-deleted tweet.
He also shared a photoshopped image of Bloomberg, who is five feet, eight inches, exaggerating the 77-year-old billionaire's height. Trump is six feet, three inches.
Earlier in the day, while speaking at an event in North Carolina, Bloomberg said he "knows how to deal with New York bullies."
"I’m not afraid of Donald Trump and that’s why he keeps tweeting about me,” Bloomberg said. “The ways you can tell he’s worried is if he mentions you. He’s a narcissist and he understands name is everything and if you really want to annoy him say ‘that person,’ don’t say Donald Trump.”
According to an average of polls published by RealClearPolitics, Bloomberg is in third nationally.