Bloomberg has criticism to spare in visit to N.H.

  • Potential Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg speaks at the WH Bagshaw Company in Nashua on Tuesday. AP

  • Potential Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg, center, accompanied by Aaron, left, and Adria Bagshaw, right, walks during a tour of the WH Bagshaw Company, a pin and precision component manufacturer, Tuesday Jan. 29, 2019, in Nashua, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Elise Amendola

  • Potential Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg speaks to Aaron, left, and Adria Bagshaw, during a tour of the WH Bagshaw Company, a pin and precision component manufacturer, Tuesday Jan. 29, 2019, in Nashua, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Elise Amendola

  • Potential Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg, right, speaks to workers during a tour of the WH Bagshaw Company, a pin and precision component manufacturer, Tuesday Jan. 29, 2019, in Nashua, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Elise Amendola

  • Potential Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg speaks to media after a tour of the WH Bagshaw Company, a pin and precision component manufacturer, Tuesday Jan. 29, 2019, in Nashua, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Elise Amendola

  • Potential Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg speaks to workers during a tour of the WH Bagshaw Company, a pin and precision component manufacturer, Tuesday Jan. 29, 2019, in Nashua, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Elise Amendola

  • Potential Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg inspects some of the products during a tour of the WH Bagshaw Company, a pin and precision component manufacturer, Tuesday Jan. 29, 2019, in Nashua, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Elise Amendola

  • Potential Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg eats a slice of pizza after a tour of the WH Bagshaw Company, a pin and precision component manufacturer, Tuesday Jan. 29, 2019, in Nashua, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Elise Amendola

For the Monitor
Published: 1/29/2019 5:44:37 PM

Looking and sounding like a Democratic presidential contender, former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg criticized potential rivals for the nomination as well as Republican President Donald Trump, during a two-day trip to New Hampshire, the state that holds the first primary in the race for the White House.

The billionaire media mogul and environmental and gun safety advocate also discussed climate change, one of his signature issues, during his swing through the state, which concluded Tuesday evening as he headlined a house party in Concord.

Speaking with reporters following a tour of the WH Bagshaw Company in Nashua, Bloomberg sharpened his critique of some fellow Democrats. He panned a push by Sen. Kamala Harris of California for a “Medicare-for-all” single-payer health care plan. Harris – a declared presidential candidate – said Monday while campaigning in Iowa that she’s willing to end private insurance to make Medicare-for-all happen.

“I think you could never afford that. You’re talking about trillions of dollars,” Bloomberg said. “To replace the entire private system where companies provide health care for their employees would bankrupt us for a very long time. It’s just not a practical thing.”

Bloomberg also took aim at a proposal by Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts – another presidential contender – to place a wealth tax on the super-rich.

“Number one, I think the Constitution lets you impose income taxes only, so I think it’s unconstitutional,” he said. “Number two, I don’t know of any country that’s done that. People earn money, they pay their taxes and then they don’t expect the government to come back and take some of it away.”

And he discounted the longstanding drive by independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont – who’s weighing a second-straight bid for the Democratic nomination – to offer all in-state students attending community colleges and some students at four-year public colleges a tuition-free higher education.

“Free college tuition would be a nice thing to do, but unfortunately your professors want to get paid,” he said.

Bloomberg also criticized fellow billionaire Howard Schultz, who said Sunday he’s considering an independent run for president. Bloomberg joined a chorus of fierce criticism by Democrats that an independent run by the former longtime CEO of Starbucks could assist Trump in 2020 to win re-election.

“Number one, you can’t win as an independent because of the Electoral College requiring a majority. And number two, I think all it would do would be to re-elect Donald Trump,” he said.

Bloomberg fired away at Trump multiple times during a speech Tuesday morning at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, saying the president has “failed at business and now I think it’s fair to say he’s failing at governing.”

He slammed Trump over the 35-day partial shutdown of the federal government.

“The government shutdown was an utter failure of executive leadership, and I think it’s an example of just totally incompetent management that needlessly hurt millions of people,” Bloomberg said.

“I’m glad the shutdown is over for now, but the American people will continue paying a steep cost for White House incompetence because the president is fixated on a wall we don’t need instead of real challenges we face,” he added.

Bloomberg also criticized the president as a climate change denier.

“His own administration produced a damaging report showing that we face what they called substantial damage to the U.S. economy, environment, and human health from climate change,” Bloomberg said. “And you know what the president said in response? ‘I don’t believe it.’ ”

Highlighting the ability to battle climate change while boosting the economy, Bloomberg cited his own environmental record during his tenure as New York City’s mayor.

“We substantially cut the city’s carbon footprint, while also increasing life expectancy by three years ... and we created more than 400,000 new jobs,” he said.

But he wasn’t sold on the Green New Deal, new wide-reaching legislation pushed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and other progressive lawmakers which would eliminate much of the United States’ fossil-fuel consumption.

“You have to have realistic things. We are not overnight going to change everything we do,” Bloomberg argued. “People aren’t going to overnight give up their jobs if those jobs happen not to be on the side of the Green New Deal.”

Bloomberg said he’s already putting together details on what he thinks the Green New Deal should look like.

“Whether I run for president or not, I will work to ensure that fighting climate change, and spurring economic development in areas that have depended on fossil fuels, is a top priority for the Democratic nominee,” Bloomberg said.

Bloomberg’s trip sparked more speculation regarding his potential presidential bid. Acknowledging his visit, he joked to the crowd at Saint Anselm College that his visit was “nothing political.”

“I always come to New Hampshire in the winter when it snows,” he deadpanned.

He said he would decide on a White House run by the end of February.

He told the Monitor that his trip to the Granite State “gives me just another day of talking to people and you just get an instinctive feel of whether you can relate and whether you can really understand what they want and they need and whether I think I can do something about it.”

If he runs and makes it to the White House, Bloomberg said he would put his philanthropic foundation into a blind trust, which is what he did when he was mayor.

The Republican National Committee said Bloomberg’s trip “signals just another delusional Democrat mulling a bid for what will be a circus of a 2020 Presidential primary.”

Bloomberg arrived in New Hampshire on Monday, holding private meetings with top political leaders and entrepreneurs. His Tuesday morning climate change speech and his event in Nashua drew a healthy crowd of national reporters and cameras.

Later in the day, he visited Harvey’s Bakery and Coffee Shop in Dover, a must-stop for White House hopefuls, where he was hosted by Bill Shaheen, a longtime attorney and husband of Sen. Jeanne Shaheen who’s also a Democratic National Committeeman. In Concord, he was guest of honor at a house party at the home of longtime activists Lew Feldstein and Mary McGowan.


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