By Tim Reid
LOSANGELES (Reuters) – Democratic presidential contender Michael Bloomberg said on Friday that Donald Trump would easily defeat any of his Democratic White House rivals in next year’s election, bluntly declaring: “Donald Trump would eat ‘em up.”
Bloomberg, 77, a billionaire media mogul and former New York mayor, was a late entry into the race last month. He has been privately disparaging of his Democratic presidential rivals but this was the first time he had been so critical of them in public.
In an interview on CBS’s “This Morning,” Bloomberg said: “I looked at our national government getting worse, the way we’re behaving overseas and domestically, led by our president. I said back in 2016, ‘He is the wrong person for the job. He doesn’t have the temperament or the ethics or the intellect to do the job.’”
Bloomberg added: “And I said, ‘We just can’t have another four years of this.’ And then I watched all the candidates. And I just thought to myself: ‘Donald Trump would eat ‘em up’.”
Bloomberg, a former Republican and independent, fears that liberal candidates such as U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, and their proposed costly expansion of government programs, will alienate voters in battleground states.
At the same time, some Democrats have been unnerved by an uneven campaign performance from former Vice President Joe Biden, 77, while another leading candidate, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, 37, is seen in some quarters as too young and inexperienced.
Bloomberg and 14 other Democrats are vying to become the party’s nominee to take on Republican President Trump in next November’s election. The nominating contest begins in Iowa on Feb. 3.
Warren has accused Bloomberg, who is funding his own campaign, of trying to buy his way to the nomination. He launched his presidential bid with a $37 million advertising blitz.
His entry into the race has had some impact. Recent opinion polls show him earning around 4% support among Democratic voters, although that is still way behind the leading contenders, including Biden, Warren, Sanders, and Buttigieg.
(Reporting by Tim Reid; editing by Jonathan Oatis)