Democratic primary frontrunner Bernie Sanders has hit out against up-and-coming-rival Mayor Peter Buttigieg on Friday for his connection to and financial support from billionaire donors.
Sanders launched his criticism of the former South Bend mayor while speaking at the 'Politics & Eggs' series in New Hampshire, the first state primary of the White House race.
“I'm reading some headlines from newspapers about Pete Buttigieg. Pete Buttigieg has the most exclusive billionaire donors of any Democrat ... that was from Forbes", the Vermont senator said.
"The Hill: Pete Buttigieg tops billionaire donor list. Fortune: Pete Buttigieg takes lead as big business candidate in 2020 field. Washington Post: Pete Buttigieg lures even closer look from Wall Street donors following strong Iowa Caucus performance. Forbes Magazine: here are the billionaires backing Pete Buttigieg's presidential campaign."
“I like Pete Buttigieg, nice guy. But we are in a moment where billionaires control not only our economy but our political life,” added Sanders, who’s long taken aim at Wall Street and the billionaire class. His campaign literature and signs include the slogan “Paid for by Bernie 2020, not the billionaires", he added.
The comments come just ahead of the New Hampshire Democratic primary debate. Despite Sanders holding a first place position according to polling, Mayor Pete's shock result has seen him surge in support and threaten the populist senator's lead.
What makes the attack noteworthy is that Sanders rarely takes the opportunity to directly attack his fellow Democratic challengers, indicating a recognition of Buttigieg's surge in recent weeks.
Mayor Pete saw his support at the Iowa caucus on Monday soar in a surprise jump to nearly match the Vermont senator for the popular vote and, as the results currently stand, surpass him in delegates.
Due to a technical error of the application used to collect the caucus data, the full results of the Iowa vote have still not been released in full.
Sanders currently leads the race in campaign cash due to a massive number of small-dollar grassroots donations from across the nation and has on a previous occasion criticised Mayor Pete and former Vice President Joe Biden during a primary debate in December for receiving fundraising for their campaign from a number of billionaires.