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Bloomberg uses his billionaire status to bash Trump at the DNC

·White House Correspondent
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PHILADELPHIA — A billionaire who has his name on office buildings around the world spoke at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg used his own business success to undermine the Republican nominee, Donald Trump, who has largely based his campaign on his brand as a real estate developer and dealmaker. At one point, Bloomberg even called into question Trump’s sanity.

“Through his career, Trump has left behind a well-documented record of bankruptcies, thousands of lawsuits, and angry stockholders and contractors who feel cheated, and disillusioned customers who feel ripped off. Trump says he wants to run the nation like he’s running his business? God help us,” Bloomberg said.

Bloomberg, whose tenure in City Hall ended in 2013, started his speech by emphasizing his status as a DNC “outsider.” Though he was a Democrat before taking office, Bloomberg was elected as a Republican in 2001. Bloomberg left the Republican Party and became an independent in 2007. At the DNC, he made the case for supporting the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, from the perspective of an independent. He noted that neither of the major parties necessarily share his views on some of his pet issues.

“I know what it’s like to have neither party fully represent my views or values. Too many Republicans wrongly blame immigrants for problems, and they stand… in the way of action on climate change and gun violence,” Bloomberg said. “Meanwhile, many Democrats, I think, wrongly blame the private sector for our problems, and they stand in the way of action on education and deficit reduction.”

Although he acknowledged he doesn’t always agree with Clinton, Bloomberg argued that it is “imperative” to vote for her in November, because Trump, he said, is “a risky, reckless and radical choice.”

“There are times when I disagree with Hillary Clinton. But let me tell you, whatever our disagreements may be, I’ve come here to say: We must put them aside for the good of our country. And we must unite around the candidate who can defeat a dangerous demagogue,” he said.

The ex-mayor went on to take apart Trump’s business record. Forbes currently estimates Bloomberg’s net worth at $47.7 billion, compared to Trump’s $4.5 billion. Bloomberg also pointed out that Trump didn’t necessarily start his career from scratch and instead received a large loan from his father, who was also a real estate developer in New York City.

“We’ve heard a lot of talk in this campaign about needing a leader who understands business. I couldn’t agree more. I’ve built a business, and I didn’t start it with a million-dollar check from my father,” Bloomberg said.

Bloomberg has made many forays into national politics. He used his personal fortune to lobby for stricter gun-control regulations, and he has considered running for the presidency several times, including in the 2016 race. His team ultimately concluded that he did not have a path to victory this year.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaking at the Democratic National Convention. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaking at the Democratic National Convention. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

During Bloomberg’s speech, the Trump campaign sent out a link to an article criticizing the former mayor’s advocacy of gun control, denouncing Bloomberg’s “zealotry on banning guns.”

After launching his indictment of Trump, Bloomberg said his time in New York gave him firsthand experience of Clinton’s willingness to work across the aisle as one of the state’s representatives in the U.S. Senate.

“I was elected mayor two months after 9/11, as a Republican, and I saw how Hillary Clinton worked with Republicans in Washington to ensure that New York got the help it needed to recover and rebuild,” Bloomberg said. “Throughout her time in the Senate, we didn’t always agree — but Hillary Clinton always listened. And that’s the kind of approach we need in Washington today.”

Bloomberg branded Trump’s “business plan” for the country “a disaster.” He concluded by implying that Trump is mentally unfit to occupy the White House.

“Let’s elect a sane, competent person with international experience, a unifier who is mature enough to reach out for advice to build consensus and to recognize that we all have something to contribute,” he said. “So, let’s elect Hillary Clinton as the next president of the greatest country in the world, the United States of America!”

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