Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Tuesday that Michael Bloomberg will be a ‘”force to be reckoned with” in the 2020 presidential race who “could do some damage” to President Donald Trump with his vast fortune even if he’s not the Democratic nominee.
“I think he was a good mayor and I think he’s going to be a force to be reckoned with. If you’ve got $60 billion you can tell your own story,” Graham, the second Trump ally in as many days to have kind words for Bloomberg, said in an interview on “The Morning Briefing” on Sirius XM radio. “I think he’ll be a force to be reckoned with.”
The former New York mayor, a late entrant to the Democratic primary, has drawn the attention — and ire — of the President as he attempts to chart his own path within the crowded primary field. Bloomberg is putting his focus and personal wealth toward multiple states that will vote in the Super Tuesday contest in March.
“Come Super Tuesday — he’s already in the low teens, polling nationally — if he can grab some delegates on Super Tuesday this is probably a brokered convention,” Graham said, “and he is going to be the guy to fill the Biden lane, in his own mind.”
Still, the South Carolina Republican assessed that “the energy” in the Democratic Party is with Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
“The Democratic Party is trying to find its identity between socialism, liberalism and moderation, and all the energy seems to be with Bernie,” he said. “I just don’t believe the Bernie voter would accept a Bloomberg candidacy.”
On Monday, one of Trump’s close friends and the former chairman of his inaugural committee said Bloomberg “would be an amazing president.”
“I like Mike Bloomberg. I know him, I think he would be an amazing president. He was an amazing mayor,” Tom Barrack told CNBC. “He’s run a first-class business, he’s smart, he’s thoughtful, he’s considerate, he’s done it all before, and he doesn’t need anything.”
Barrack, who also said that Trump “has done a great job,” highlighted Bloomberg’s ability to self-fund his campaign as reason to take his candidacy seriously.
Even though he kicked off his White House bid only in late November, Bloomberg had managed to plow through a little more than $200 million of his personal wealth by the end of 2019, a snapshot of the staggering investment he’s made in his campaign.
Nearly three-quarters of the $188 million Bloomberg reported spending during the first month of his candidacy went to television and digital advertising as the billionaire raced to introduce himself to Democratic primary voters and begin to pummel Trump on the airwaves, according to the campaign’s account of spending to federal election regulators.
Bloomberg campaign aides said the early spending was just the start for a candidate who has indicated a willingness to pump as much as $1 billion of his personal fortune into the race, even if he loses the nomination.
When asked about Bloomberg’s financial resources, even if he’s not the nominee, Graham acknowledged that the candidate “can do some damage to Trump, just trying to knock his numbers down.”
“But I don’t think he’s in it just to hurt Trump,” he said. “I think he’s in it to win it.”