It’s only money.
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That’s the word coming from Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign, which is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on his long-shot effort, and officials say that’s just the beginning. Wall Street executives who have spoken with Bloomberg campaign officials say they’ve been told that the former New York City mayor and billionaire businessman is prepared to spend as much as $2 billion on either his own campaign or to help finance a Democratic nominee to unseat President Trump in the 2020 general election.
The $2 billion spending number — which hasn’t been reported – comes amid various press accounts that have focused on just how much Bloomberg is spending and will spend to either snare the nomination and become president or help a fellow Democrat win in November. Last week, The New York Times reported that Bloomberg has said he could spend $1 billion, though the piece suggested that Bloomberg hasn’t ruled out spending even more.
Bloomberg, a fiscal conservative and a liberal on many social issues, is said to have personally loathed Trump for years. But that animus grew as Trump entered presidential politics on a platform that embraced nationalism and called for cutbacks on immigration. In 2016 he endorsed Hillary Clinton’s unsuccessful campaign for president and mocked then candidate Trump during his convention speech stating: “I’m a New Yorker, and I know a con when I see one.”
It's unclear what changed in recent days for the Bloomberg campaign to signal that the former mayor is ready to spend a cool $2 billion to unseat Trump aside from the president himself mocking Bloomberg as “Mini Mike” in a recent Twitter storm.
One thing is certain: Bloomberg’s wealth has added a unique dimension to the 2020 presidential showdown. While Trump touts his own net worth at $10 billion, most private estimates cite his holdings at around $3 billion to $4 billion. There are also questions over whether Trump is “liquid” since it is believed that his wealth is tied up in real estate, golf courses and other assets such as his Mar-a-Lago country club, which may be why he is loath to spend much of his own money on his campaign.
Bloomberg, meanwhile, is worth $53 billion, money he compiled during a long career on Wall Street and as the founder of the eponymous financial data and news outfit Bloomberg LP before serving three terms as mayor of New York City. Even more, Bloomberg is said to have tens of billions in cash or cash equivalents, which can be marshaled for his campaign at a moment’s notice.
On Bill Hemmer Reports Monday, Bloomberg’s campaign manager Kevin Sheekey confirmed the report, “[Bloomberg] will spend whatever it takes”. A spokesman did not respond to request for comment.
And if Bloomberg does spend $2 billion on the 2020 race, it would make this year’s presidential election easily the most expensive in history. In 2012, for example, Republican Mitt Romney and Democrat Barack Obama raised $2.1 billion combined in what is considered history’s most expensive presidential contest.
“No one can approach what Mike is spending or will spend,” said Alan Patricof, the head of venture capital firm Greycroft Partners and a prominent Democratic Party fundraiser. “He has a huge war chest.”
FOX Business has previously reported that former vice president Joe Biden’s presidential campaign has an unofficial non-aggression pact with the Bloomberg campaign because of the benefits of having a multibillionaire in the race as a Democrat who is spending the vast majority of his money on attack ads against Trump and some get-out-the-vote efforts. The former New York City mayor has gained some traction in national polls, but he remains far behind the top tier candidates: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Biden, who leads the field in most national polls.
That’s the main reason most other leading Democrats have largely refrained from direct attacks against Bloomberg or the use of his wealth to buy the election. Bloomberg’s campaign has said he would support any of the current crop of candidates in the general election in order to beat Trump, who he is said to believe is temperamentally unsuitable to remain as president.
And they will need the money: Fundraisers close to Trump say that money has been flowing into the campaign and pro-Trump super PACs in recent weeks as Republican donors increasingly worry that a far-left politician like Sanders or Warren could win in 2020. The Trump campaign has seen an increase in fundraising since the House voted to impeach Trump, and they believe the campaign can easily raise more than $1 billion.
So far, Trump has raised $185 million, almost twice as much as any of the top Democrats, campaign records show.