Michael Bloomberg is not running in 2020 but he wants Donald Trump to lose, we all know that. He will spend $500 million trying to undermine the president. That’s quite an animus.
But who does Bloomberg want to win? Speaking to the Bermuda Executive Forum, his favorite sort of event, the media titan didn’t endorse anyone. He moaned about the state of politics and mocked two leading contenders for the Democratic nomination, Joe Biden and Beto O’Rourke.
Bloomberg said that he realized he would not be a successful presidential candidate, ‘unless I was willing to change all my views and go on what CNN called ‘an apology tour.’ And he’s too much of a man to apologize, you see.
Bloomberg added: ‘Joe Biden went out and apologized for being male, over 50, white. He apologized for the one piece of legislation which is actually pretty good, the anti-crime bill.’
‘If the liberals ever read it, most of the things they like is in that bill. They should have loved that. But they didn’t even bother to read it. You’re anti-crime, you must be anti-populist.’
He then took a swipe at O’Rourke: ‘Beto, whatever his name is, he’s apologized for being born,’ he said, and the Bermuda Executives laughed and laughed. Jokes are always funnier when a billionaire makes them.
Mocking Biden and O’Rourke is good fun. But Donald Trump is already doing that. The President very quickly identified a Beto weakness: his odd habit of waggling his arms around when he talks. Now Bloomberg has joined in, O’Rourke might be forgiven for asking: whose side Bloomberg is really on?
Bloomberg’s scorn for O’Rourke and Biden is arrogance. It is the wounded contempt of a man who thinks he could do better. His remarks about populism suggest a man who has looked at the numbers and realized he is not that popular. Like many others in the billionaire class: he is unable to understand why not everybody thinks they are right about everything.
Bloomberg is bitter. He is a man who dislikes more widely liked public figures, perhaps because they are widely liked, perhaps because they are not him.
But if Bloomberg is so desperate to defeat Trump, why would he start insulting his potential rivals? He did go on to say that, if O’Rourke won the nomination, he would support him, but only after letting his audience know how little he thought of him.
Instead of running himself, Bloomberg has become the anti-candidate. He’s anti-Trump, but he’s anti the others, too. Donald Trump once called him ‘Little Michael Bloomberg.’ The jibe clearly hurt, and might in part explain Bloomberg’s loathing of the President. He also just cannot compute how Donald Trump could have reached the White House, while Michael Bloomberg, a much richer and less vulgar plutocrat, cannot. Perhaps he should be known as ‘Petty Michael Bloomberg’: the man who snipes at others but isn’t big enough to run and win himself.