Former New York mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on Friday described President Trump as a “pretend CEO” who is damaging the country, enabled by Republicans in Congress who are afraid to stand up to him.
“The longer we have a pretend CEO recklessly running this country, the worse it will be for our country,” the billionaire businessman and philanthropist told 150 members of the Democratic Business Council of Northern Virginia in Tysons. Bloomberg, who’s been a Republican, independent and is now a Democrat, is considering a presidential run.
“I think it’s clear that the president at this point cannot be helped,” said Bloomberg, former three-term mayor of New York City. He was interrupted several times by applause from a crowd that included Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, Northern Virginia congressmen Gerald E. Connolly and Don Beyer and multiple local elected leaders, all Democrats.
“Almost every deal he’s ever made, he left contractors and customers holding the bag. It appears he even cheated his own charity out of money,” Bloomberg said, referring to a New York attorney general’s civil suit against the Donald J. Trump Foundation. Closing part of the federal government because of a political disagreement over a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border is a “cynical political stunt,” Bloomberg said. “It really disturbs me when the Republicans in Congress can’t stand up to him . . . they make the Wizard of Oz’s Cowardly Lion look like a profile in courage.”
He ticked off a list of major national challenges that need attention: the opioid drug crisis, millions of Americans without health insurance, the proliferation of guns and gun violence, crumbling infrastructure, wage stagnation, underperforming schools, and climate change.
“We need a president who can break the gridlock and get big things done.” he said. “It’s so important for the president to open the government, but let’s not kid ourselves. Even when that happens, the dysfunction will unfortunately probably continue as long as we have a reckless president who doesn’t know the first thing about management and leadership.”
Bloomberg, who was also scheduled Friday to appear before the U.S. Conference of Mayors and at an event with Everytown for Gun Safety, an activist group that his foundation has funded, did not say he was running for president, but he joked that the “open bullpen” office he implemented in the mayor’s office would work well “in a slightly rounded office.”
He also offered humorous responses to questions about his recent travel to Iowa and his impending trip to New Hampshire, the two states with the earliest presidential primary elections. But he also spelled out his political and business experience in a city that is bigger than many nations.
“The presidency is not an entry-level job,” he said. “I don’t like walking away from challenges.”