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US election 2020: Trump taunts ‘little’ Bloomberg to challenge him

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Media caption‘Little Michael’ Bloomberg will hurt Biden – Trump

US President Donald Trump has taunted former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg amid reports that he is ready to jump into the White House race.

Speaking to reporters, Mr Trump said of the billionaire businessman: “There is nobody I’d rather run against than little Michael.”

Mr Bloomberg is expected to file paperwork for the presidential primary in Alabama on Friday.

But advisers say he has not yet made his final decision.

What else did President Trump say?

On Friday, Mr Trump said Mr Bloomberg “doesn’t have the magic” to make it to the White House.

He continued: “He’s not going to do well, but I think he’s going to hurt Biden actually.”

Calling him “a nothing”, Mr Trump said on Friday that Mr Bloomberg “will fail” if he joins the Democratic race.

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Media captionBloomberg to BBC in 2018: ‘I’d like to make a difference’

What did Bloomberg’s aide say?

In a statement, Bloomberg adviser Howard Wolfson said: “We now need to finish the job and ensure that Trump is defeated.

“But Mike is increasingly concerned that the current field of candidates is not well positioned to do that.”

Mr Bloomberg is said to be fully aware such a belated entry to the race could present challenges in states like Iowa and New Hampshire, where other Democratic contenders have been campaigning for months.

The Bloomberg team is reportedly sees a possible pathway through the so-called Super Tuesday contests in March, when 14 states, including California, Alabama and Colorado, will vote on a single day for their preferred White House nominee.

Mr Bloomberg has twice before considered running for the White House as an independent candidate, in 2008 and 2016.

The 77-year-old had said only in March this year that he would not run for president, reportedly because of the perceived dominance of Democratic front-runner Joe Biden.

But he is understood to have recently voiced scepticism that any of the current Democratic field could beat Mr Trump in the election a year from now.

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Getty Images

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Mr Bloomberg and Mr Trump, pictured here playing golf in 2007, were once friendly

What happens next?

If Mr Bloomberg does get on the ballot in Alabama by Friday, he will still have to register in other states which have later filing deadlines.

His advisers are reportedly preparing the necessary paperwork for other states with upcoming deadlines. Both Arkansas and New Hampshire require candidates to file by next week.

State-by-state votes, known as primaries and caucuses, will be held from February next year to pick a Democratic White House nominee.

The eventual winner will be crowned at the party convention in Wisconsin in July. He or she is expected to face President Trump, a Republican, in the general election in November.

A total of 17 Democratic candidates are vying to be the party’s standard-bearer.

Mr Biden, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders are the current front-runners.

What’s the other reaction?

At a campaign fundraiser in Boston on Thursday, Mr Biden did not address Mr Bloomberg’s potential candidacy.

Ms Warren welcomed Mr Bloomberg to the race on Twitter, linking to her own campaign website and suggesting the former mayor take a look for potential policy plans.

In a more pointed response, seemingly directed at Mr Bloomberg, Mr Sanders wrote on Twitter: “The billionaire class is scared and they should be scared.”

Some recent opinion polls have suggested that Ms Warren and Mr Sanders – who are more politically liberal than Mr Biden – might face an uphill battle against Mr Trump.

The Republican National Committee said in a statement that the billionaire’s prospective entry “underscores the weak Democrat field”.

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, and Elizabeth Warren are currently leading the field of Democratic candidates

Who is Bloomberg?

Mr Bloomberg’s net worth is $52bn (£40bn), according to Forbes. This is nearly 17 times more than that of Mr Trump ($3.1bn).

He was a Wall Street banker before going on to create the financial publishing empire that bears his name.

He staged a successful campaign for New York mayor in 2001, remaining in office for three consecutive terms through 2013.

A philanthropist, he has donated millions of dollars to educational, medical and other causes.

What does Bloomberg believe in?

Originally a Democrat, Mr Bloomberg became a Republican to mount his campaign for New York mayor in 2001.

Now regarded as a moderate Democrat, he rejoined the party only last year.

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Getty Images

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Michael Bloomberg has highlighted climate change and gun control as key issues

Mr Bloomberg has liberal views on issues such as climate change, gun control, immigration and abortion rights.

He was credited this week with helping Democrats win control of Virginia’s legislature, after his gun-control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety injected $2.5m into the state’s election.

But Mr Bloomberg is more conservative on topics like the economy and policing.

As mayor, he defended NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy, which critics say disproportionately targeted African Americans and Hispanics. Black voters are a vital constituency for Democrats.

At city hall, Mr Bloomberg banned supersize sodas to prevent obesity, but was overruled by the state’s Supreme Court.


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