Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is taking aim at Michael Bloomberg over his self-funded 2020 presidential campaign, saying that the former New York City mayor would not be able to produce the “excitement” and “energy” needed to defeat President Trump.
“The simple truth is that Mayor Bloomberg, with all his money, will not create the kind of excitement and energy we need to have the voter turnout we must have to defeat Donald Trump,” Sanders said on Saturday at a Democratic Party gala in Las Vegas, Reuters reported.
Sanders, who has emerged as the front-runner in the Democratic presidential primary field after strong showings in New Hampshire and Iowa, went on to strongly criticize Bloomberg’s policy views on issues such as minimum wage laws, policing and regulating Wall Street. He also denounced Bloomberg, the founder of Bloomberg LP, over the stop-and-frisk policy he oversaw as mayor of New York City, which contributed to a disproportionate number of stops of minorities across the city.
A federal judge ruled in 2013 that stop-and-frisk tactics employed by the New York police stripped the constitutional rights of minorities. Bloomberg has since apologized for the policy.
“We will not create the energy and excitement we need to defeat Trump if that candidate pursued, advocated for, and enacted, racist policies like stop-and-frisk, which caused communities of color in his city to live in fear,” Sanders said on Saturday, according to Reuters.
Sanders’s speech in Las Vegas came as 2020 candidates descended on Nevada ahead of the state’s caucuses next Saturday.
Bloomberg, who has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into his own campaign, is not competing in Nevada, instead focusing on the Super Tuesday states where voters will cast ballots on March 3.
Despite Bloomberg’s unconventional campaign, the former mayor has continually gained strength in support over the past couple months. Recent national polls have showed him trailing Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination.
Bloomberg’s candidacy has sparked intense criticism from other campaigns, many of whom have railed against the billionaire businessman’s decision to put huge amounts of his own wealth into the election process.