Mike Bloomberg in Interviews during 2018-2020


On Families & Children: Get cities to hike taxes on sugary drinks

Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks, said about Bloomberg to NBC News, "I'm all for it. I think he will be good for the Democratic field." Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks, considered running for president in 2020 himself. "He is now the only candidate that has actually done something to impact gun violence. He is the only candidate that has done something to deal with reducing health care costs by helping to keep people healthy via sugar associated taxes," Cuban said, stopping short of an endorsement. "Adding the substance he brings on these issues is a net positive in my opinion."

He's also funded campaigns to get cities to hike taxes on sugary drinks, cigarettes, and trans fats-- efforts that have earned him praise from public health advocates, but also scorn and mockery from others as a "stereotypically laughable example of a liberal nanny state," as Time magazine once put it.

Source: NBC News, "2020 Election," on 2020 Democratic primary Nov 24, 2019

On Crime: I was wrong to rely on stop-and-frisk policing

Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg apologized for his administration's controversial reliance on stop-and-frisk policing in a speech at a Brooklyn church Sunday morning, saying, "I was wrong and I am sorry."

The stunning reversal comes as Bloomberg is expected to jump into the 2020 presidential race. "I got something important wrong. I got something really important wrong--stops on the black and Latino community," a contrite Bloomberg said as he addressed congregants at the Christian Cultural Center in East New York, one of the city's largest black churches. "I want you to know I realize back then I was wrong," he added. "And I am sorry."

Stop-and-frisk is one of the most controversial legacies of Bloomberg's twelve years in City Hall--struck down by a federal judge for its disproportionate effect on minority communities, but one Bloomberg continued to cling tightly to for years as he claimed credit of the city's sinking crime rates.

Source: New York Post on 2020 Democratic primary Nov 17, 2019

On Government Reform: Fund voter registration in FL, WI, OH, MI, and PA

Former New York Mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg announced last month that rather than seek the presidency as a Democrat, he would fund a voter registration, persuasion and turnout effort in Florida, Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

"Whoever the nominee is likely won't be decided until late into 2020, and whoever that nominee is will face a very large and well-funded campaign in waiting," a Bloomberg adviser, who led Obama's battleground effort in 2012, told POLITICO last month.

"As we looked at the gaps in the current ecosystem, we said, 'Could we set something up right now that could provide the infrastructure, provide the data and technology to whomever the eventually nominee is so they're not at such a disadvantage once the primary is over?'" the adviser said. "We can."

Source: Politico.com, "Florida," on 2020 Democratic primary Mar 20, 2019

On Energy & Oil: $218M effort led to closure of 282 coal-fired power plants

The network of Bloomberg Philanthropies recipients is vast, and it includes mayors throughout the country as well as grassroots climate-change, gun-control and education advocates.

For instance, Bloomberg has contributed $218 million for clean-energy efforts that, among other results, have led to the closure of 282 coal-fired power plants. But he does not oppose, at least in the short term, other fossil fuel use--and that's not good enough for climate change activists

Source: Politico.com on 2020 Democratic primary hopefuls Feb 19, 2019

On Principles & Values: American Cities Initiative philanthropies gave away $6.4B

From shuttering coal-fired power plants to fighting the gun lobby, obesity and Big Tobacco, Michael Bloomberg's philanthropy has given away $6.4 billion and earned the love and respect of progressive-minded activists across the country.

[Via Bloomberg Philanthropies], Bloomberg's giving covers five major areas--environment, public health, government innovation, the arts and education--and last year totaled $787 million, making him the nation's second-most generous philanthropist behind Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

Through one of his biggest programs, the American Cities Initiative, Bloomberg has helped municipalities and activists grapple with everything from climate change to guns to obesity. The initiative is an outgrowth of Bloomberg's time as New York City mayor and has helped sow goodwill with mayors and former mayors throughout the country, giving him possible entr‚e to a layer of local political support that conventional candidates lack.

Source: Politico.com on 2020 Democratic primary hopefuls Feb 19, 2019

On Health Care: We can never afford to replace employer-based health system

Some of the most popular issues among Democratic candidates--tuition free college, Medicare for all and a wealth tax--were among the proposals Bloomberg deemed unrealistic, too expensive and even unconstitutional.

The billionaire slammed a Medicare-for-All proposal floated by 2020 candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), saying the country could "never afford" replacing the employer-offered health care system in its entirety.

The Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat supports Medicare for those without health insurance, but he does not want to do away with the employer-provided model.

Bloomberg said, "I'm a little bit tired of listening to things are pie in the sky, that we never are going to pass, are never going to afford. I think it's just disingenuous to promote those things. You've got to do something that's practical."

Source: Stephanie Murray on Politico.com on 2020 Democratic primary Jan 29, 2019

On Tax Reform: Progressive tax yes; wealth tax no

Some of the most popular issues among Democratic candidates--tuition free college, Medicare for all and a wealth tax--were among the proposals Mike Bloomberg deemed unrealistic, too expensive and even unconstitutional.

He calls for a more progressive tax rate, but sees the wealth tax advocated by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) as going too far. "I believe that that plan should be bold and ambitious and most importantly achievable," Bloomberg said. "You've got to do something that's practical."

Warren hit back at Bloomberg's claim that her wealth tax proposal is "probably unconstitutional." The Massachusetts Democrat said in a tweet, "Billionaires like Howard Schultz and Michael Bloomberg want to keep a rigged system in place that benefits only them and their buddies. and they plan to spend gobs of cash to try and buy the presidency to keep it that way. Not on my watch."

Source: Stephanie Murray on Politico.com on 2020 Democratic primary Jan 29, 2019

On Tax Reform: The wealthy prefer the current rigged system

Some of the most popular issues among Democratic candidates--tuition free college, Medicare for all and a wealth tax--were among the proposals Mike Bloomberg deemed unrealistic, too expensive and even unconstitutional.

He calls for a more progressive tax rate, but sees the wealth tax advocated by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) as going too far. "I believe that that plan should be bold and ambitious and most importantly achievable," Bloomberg said. "You've got to do something that's practical."

Warren hit back at Bloomberg's claim that her wealth tax proposal is "probably unconstitutional." The Massachusetts Democrat said in a tweet, "Billionaires like Howard Schultz and Michael Bloomberg want to keep a rigged system in place that benefits only them and their buddies. and they plan to spend gobs of cash to try and buy the presidency to keep it that way. Not on my watch."

Source: Stephanie Murray on Politico.com on 2020 Democratic primary Jan 29, 2019

On Tax Reform: Wealth tax is unconstitutional counterproductive

Asked about a wealth tax proposed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the very wealthy former New York City mayor said the idea was probably unconstitutional, definitely counterproductive, and something to be avoided at all costs. Anyone favoring radical redistribution, Bloomberg said, should look south for an example to avoid: "It's called Venezuela" [which currently has a socialist government].

The policy on the table: a 2% wealth tax that Warren would levy on the total assets of individuals worth more than $50 million and 3% on individuals with more than $1 billion. Per a Forbes analysis, this means that Jeff Bezos, whose $137 billion fortune makes him the richest man in the world, would owe the IRS an additional $4.1 billion each year.

Critics might complain that [Bloomberg's comparison] is heavy-handed, as the Warren wealth tax pales in comparison to the wealth redistribution of the Chavez-Maduro regime in Venezuela.

Source: Washington Examiner on 2020 Democratic primary contenders Jan 29, 2019

On Principles & Values: Keep religion and politics separate

Before his departure, Mayor Michael Bloomberg navigated several issues with religious leaders during his three terms in office, always with an inclination to keep religion and politics separate.

Bloomberg, who is Jewish, declined to feature clergy at 9/11 commemorations and strongly defended a proposal to build an Islamic community center near Ground Zero. He also supported New York Police Department surveillance of Muslim mosques and neighborhoods.

[Mayor-elect Bill] De Blasio said Bloomberg governed with a "blind spot" to faith-based groups. "I don't think the mayor really understands how crucial it is to protecting the fabric of the city," de Blasio said.

[A religion pundit noted, "the city has debated requiring pregnancy centers to post signs that they do not perform abortions. And the 'stop-and-frisk' police tactic, which some argued resulted in racial profiling, remains controversial, especially in the city's influential black churches."

Source: Religion News Service on 2020 Democratic primary Jan 6, 2014

The above quotations are from Interviews during 2018-2020, interviewing Democratic presidential hopefuls for 2020.
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Page last updated: Dec 27, 2019