- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 25, 2020

At a private event in 2016, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he would run on a platform of defending the banks and took a shot at now-2020 Democratic presidential rival Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

As 2020 Democrats are trying to play up their ties to President Barack Obama, Mr. Bloomberg also said then that his 2012 endorsement of Mr. Obama was “backhanded” and that GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney would have been better on some fronts.

“Well, to start, my first campaign platform would be to defend the banks, and you know how well that’s gonna sell in this country,” Mr. Bloomberg said, according to CNN.

The comments were reportedly made at a Goldman Sachs event at Yankee Stadium.

“But seriously, somebody’s got to stand up and do what we need,” he said. “A healthy banking system that’s going to take risks because that’s what creates the jobs for everybody. And nobody’s willing to say that.”

Asked about the rise of the far-right in Europe, Mr. Bloomberg, a Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat, said: “The left is [rising]. The progressive movement is just as scary.”

Elizabeth Warren on one side,” he said. “And whoever you want to pick on the Republicans on the right side?”

Mr. Bloomberg also said he gave Mr. Obama a “backhanded” endorsement in 2012.

“Saying I thought he hadn’t done the right thing, hadn’t done, hadn’t been good at things that I think are important and Romney would be a better person at doing that,” he said. “But Romney did not stick with the values that he had when he was governor of Massachusetts.”

Bloomberg campaign spokesman Stu Loeser said the opening line about the banks was a joke and that in more serious parts of the speech, Mr. Bloomberg was telling wealthy Americans they need to break their addiction to “cheap money” that’s exacerbating income inequality in America.

Mr. Loeser also said Mr. Bloomberg was making an “important point” about Mr. Obama, saying the former president didn’t need Mr. Bloomberg to try to galvanize support from the “strongest Obama voters.”

“What Mike could and did do for President Obama is much like what he could and did do for Hillary Clinton when he spoke at the Democratic Convention in 2016 — convince Americans who weren’t already convinced of voting for the Democrat,” he said.

There’s a decent chance Mr. Bloomberg’s comments will come up at the Democratic presidential debate on Tuesday in Charleston, South Carolina. He spent much of last week’s debate on the defensive amid attacks from candidates like Ms. Warren.

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