Michael Bloomberg may have entered the Democratic race too late to make a showing in the early primary states, but he can already claim one victory: baiting President Trump into a very public war of words.
Since Bloomberg’s team announced it was buying a 60-second Super Bowl ad spot to “get under Trump’s skin” two weeks ago, Trump has launched a string of Twitter broadsides against the former New York mayor, and his campaign has bought its own Super Bowl ad — valued at $10 million.
The result is two wealthy men, both of whom rose to prominence in Manhattan by slapping their names on their business empires, slugging it out in classic New York style. So where Trump has dismissed Bloomberg as a “clown” and made fun of his short stature, the Democrat targeted Trump where it hurts most, questioning his wealth.
“Who’s the other one?” was his response when asked about the prospect of two billionaires going head-to-head in the election.
Mini Mike Bloomberg ads are purposely wrong – A vanity project for him to get into the game. Nobody in many years has done for the USA what I have done for the USA, including the greatest economy in history, rebuilding our military, biggest ever tax & regulation cuts, & 2nd A!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 17, 2020
Hank Sheinkopf, a veteran political operative in New York, said Bloomberg, worth an estimated $60 billion, according to Forbes, was everything Trump, with his estimated $3 billion fortune, wanted to be.
“Mike Bloomberg is a real billionaire. He’s put together a real team, a real operation, and he’s built it fast,” he said. “There is no doubt he has got under the president’s skin. Trump is scared that Bloomberg could be the real thing.”
Bloomberg’s campaign says it is no accident.
When it revealed its Super Bowl buy, Bloomberg spokesman Michael Frazier told the New York Times, “The biggest point is getting under Trump’s skin.”
When Bloomberg announced his run, he bought ad time in the West Palm Beach, Florida, media market so that the viewer-in-chief would see his message during his time at Mar-a-Lago.
And this week, aides chose Trump’s favorite morning news show to unveil another a new anti-Trump ad. It meant viewers of Fox and Friends were the first to see a provocative clip about the “chaos” of an administration led by an “out of control president.” The ad is based on a new book, A Very Stable Genius, which describes how Trump verbally abused senior military officers during a Pentagon briefing in 2017.
The response came in short order — in the form of a presidential tweet deploying Trump’s favored nickname for his rival.
“Mini Mike Bloomberg is playing poker with his foolhardy and unsuspecting Democrat rivals. He says that if he loses (he really means when!) in the primaries, he will spend money helping whoever the Democrat nominee is,” he wrote.
The attention does not reflect Bloomberg’s standing in the Democratic race, where he is still polling in single digits. However, he is spending big. Data from Advertising Analytics suggests he has spent almost a quarter of a billion dollars on commercials since announcing his run in November, far more than any of his rivals for the Democratic nomination.
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