Dear Commons Community,
Maureen Dowd in her New York Times column this morning, focuses on a potential presidential election between Michael Bloomberg and Donald Trump. As David Axelrod said recently: “All across America, people are clutching their Big Gulps.” Dowd comments that it would be undeniably entertaining to have a stinging face-off between a couple of rich, caustic New Yorkers who have skyscrapers known by their names blocks apart. Here is an excerpt from her column:
“Little Michael,” as Trump calls Bloomberg, versus the Big Fraud, as Bloomberg thinks of Trump. Maybe they could just conduct the whole campaign at Hudson Yards.
One is a real deal maker who cares about public policy and one is a fake deal maker who only cares about himself. One self-made billionaire who’s good at business would mock the so-called billionaire and bankruptcy king who needed a constant cash flow from daddy Fred. One is in the media business and one denounces the press as degenerates, lowlifes and enemies of the people. One is a genuine philanthropist and one was just ordered to pay $2 million in damages after admitting money raised by his charitable foundation was used in part for his presidential bid and to settle business debts. One is totally controlling and one is totally out of control. One rants about trans fats and one gorges on them.
Both of these salesmen can be charming or thin-skinned and arrogant. Both have politically fluid histories. Both have their feet to thank for keeping them out of Vietnam; Bloomberg had flat feet and Trump (supposedly) had bone spurs. Both have been accused of having a sexist streak, even though they supported Hillary Clinton at times and have voiced appreciation for smart women. And both men have talked openly about their love of beautiful women…
…Trump didn’t waste any time trashing a possible new opponent, focusing on looks, as usual. Mr. Rogers said that making people feel less than they are was the greatest evil, but for Trump, it’s the most fun.
“He doesn’t have the magic to do well,” the president said of Bloomberg as he left the White House Friday morning for a trip to Georgia, adding, “Little Michael will fail.”
While it is true that “kinetic TV personality” are not words you would connect to Bloomberg, the media mogul does know how to go for the jugular. Remember his Philly smackdown at the Democratic convention?
In 2015, when Bloomberg the company reported that Trump was worth only $2.9 billion, Trump was hot under the Brioni collar. He suggested that Bloomberg the man had encouraged his reporters to write a lower number because he was jealous that Trump was running for president and, referring to the Bloomberg financial data terminals, scoffed: “I wouldn’t have one of their little screens.”
Told recently that Ivanka Trump felt betrayed by his speech at the Democratic convention, because she considered him a good friend, Bloomberg did some scoffing of his own, saying that they had never been close.
Whenever I talked to Bloomberg over the years about running, it was clear he wanted to and felt he would do a great job as Nanny in Chief. But all the polls he commissioned made him think it was not feasible. He didn’t want to run against Hillary, and at first he didn’t see a path to run this time. But watching Biden implode and Mayor Pete climb and seeing the gazillion-dollar Medicare-for-all plan of Warren — whom Bloomberg thought had a shot as recently as the fall — all combined to tempt him toward a 2020 race.
As The Times’s Michael Grynbaum tweeted, slyly summing up the Gotham derby: “How many New York City personalities can one country handle?”
But then, Trump hasn’t been too friendly to New York lately. He changed his primary residency to Palm Beach, and on Friday, when he was asked about the fine on his foundation, he barked, “New York is a corrupt state.”
And he should know.”