Column

We Saw the Real Bloomberg, and He’s a Lot Like Trump

The ninth Democratic debate cemented the concerns around the former New York City mayor’s run

Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren speak during a break in the ninth Democratic primary debate in Las Vegas, Nevada, on February 19, 2020. Photo: Mark Ralston/Getty Images

ItIt was never going to be a good night for Mike Bloomberg. At the Democratic debate in Nevada on Wednesday, the former NYC mayor was hit from all sides — most notably by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who attacked Bloomberg about his history of sexist comments, stop and frisk, and the number of nondisclosure agreements women have signed at his company.

“I’d like to talk about who we’re running against: a billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse-faced lesbians,” she began. “And no, I’m not talking about Donald Trump. I’m talking about Mayor Bloomberg.”

It’s not surprising that Bloomberg took hits. What was telling, however, was how he reacted to the attacks — like someone who had never been expected to answer for anything to anyone.

And that’s the real Mike Bloomberg: a billionaire who is so used to being unquestioningly followed that he had no idea how to react when asked to be accountable for his words and actions. In fact, it felt a lot like having Donald Trump on the debate stage.

If Bloomberg isn’t toast after his disastrous performance last night, he’s going to need to figure out a way to seem not quite so like our current president.

Bloomberg not only appeared downright perplexed and irritated by Warren’s comments, but he failed to successfully answer a single criticism from any of the other candidates. In fact, he just made things worse. When asked about accusations that his company was a “hostile workplace for women,” Bloomberg started listing off how many women worked for him and how “lots and lots of women have big responsibilities” — exactly the same argument Trump has used to explain why he is not a sexist.

And after Warren asked if Bloomberg would release the women who used to work for him from their nondisclosure agreements, the former mayor not only declined to say how many NDAs there were, but quipped that maybe the women “didn’t like a joke I told.” He also insisted that the contracts “were made consensually” — a disastrous word choice that could have been avoided if Bloomberg were even the slightest bit prepared for these questions.

And that’s the rub: It’s clear that either Bloomberg thinks so highly of himself that he didn’t bother to prep for even the most predictable attacks, or that he’s so unaccustomed to being taken to task that he simply didn’t know how to react. (Personally, I think it’s a combination of both.) Either way, it means he’s unfit to be the Democratic candidate.

We don’t need another rich, entitled misogynist in the White House. Mike Bloomberg showed us who he was. Let’s believe him.

Feminist author & columnist. Native NYer, pasta enthusiast.

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