Mike Bloomberg has recalled the last time he spoke with his potential White House rival Donald Trump, saying that he didn’t care to write down Trump’s number as their mutual enmity expands from social media into the presidential race.
Talking to reporters on Monday, Bloomberg said he last talked to Trump “sometime in the middle” between when he got elected in November 2016 and when took office the following January.
“He’d let it be known that he wanted a call from me. He wouldn’t call. I had to call him,” Bloomberg admitted. “He was president-elect, so sure, and we had a pleasant conversation. He asked what he should do. I said, ‘hire people smarter than you,’ and he said, ‘there aren't any'.”
“I said, ‘look, you gotta get people that have knowledge of each of these areas’ – defence and finance, and commerce, and all things that he knows nothing about.”
“He said he did know something about it, but I said if you could get good people and delegate to them, then you could have a decent administration.”
“He said, ‘thank you very much.’ He couldn’t have been more polite, as I remember. He did give me his private cell phone number, which I didn’t bother to write down, and I’ve never talked to him since.”
Michael Bloomberg on President Trump:— NBC Politics (@NBCPolitics) January 28, 2020
"The last time I talked to him ... I had to call him, and he was president-elect, so sure. And we had a pleasant conversation. He asked what he should do. I said, 'hire people smarter than you,' and he said, 'there aren't any.'" pic.twitter.com/nX5pyJh9oQ
An anti-Trump splash
The 77-year-old businessman is one of America’s wealthiest people and a three-time New York City mayor. He announced a run for president in late November in a long-shot effort to defeat Donald Trump, whom he calls an “existential threat” to the nation.
Bloomberg, who is financing his own campaign, has already outspent both his Democratic Party rivals and Donald Trump in political advertising ($217 million in TV and online ads), and is ready to spend up to $2 billion on himself or whoever else wins the Democratic primary, according to multiple reports.
Many of his ads take personal shots at Donald Trump, slamming his relationship with the military, never-ceasing gun violence, or his “arrogance, ignorance, [and] chaos”.
Trump appeared to have taken the bait, deriding Bloomberg as “Mini Mike” in a flurry of tweets and downplaying his chances of winning the election.
The former NY major responded to one of those angry tweets: “Obsessed much? It shouldn't be this easy to distract the President of the United States.”
An ideological moderate, Bloomberg is campaigning beyond the earliest-voting states and is focusing his effort mostly on the larger Super Tuesday contests, due on 3 March.
It appears that despite the multi-million advertising splash, he is still struggling to crack double-digits in national polls, lagging behind Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, and Elizabeth Warren.
However, a CNN poll released last week found that Bloomberg would still beat Trump in the popular vote in a head-to-head match-up by 52 to 43 percent — one of the best results among Democratic hopefuls.