Democratic presidential candidate and billionaire Michael Bloomberg hit his progressive rivals at Wednesday’s Las Vegas debate while defending how much money he has earned throughout his career.
“I can’t think of a way to make it easier for Donald Trump to get reelected than listening to this conversation,” Bloomberg said, responding to an attack from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). “This is ridiculous. We’re not going to throw out capitalism. We tried that. Other countries tried that. It’s called communism, and it just didn’t work.”
Sanders called the remark a “cheap shot,” and the other Democratic candidates ripped Bloomberg for his billionaire status, with Sanders calling the U.S. economic system “corrupt” and the distribution of wealth “grotesque and immoral.”
“I can’t speak for all billionaires,” Bloomberg said responded. “All I know is I’m very lucky, made a lot of money and I’m giving it all away to make this country better. And a good chunk of it goes to the Democratic Party as well.”
The former mayor’s response prompted NBC News’s Chuck Todd to ask, “Should you have earned that much money?”
“Yes, I’ve worked very hard for it, and I’m giving it away,” Bloomberg answered.
Sanders also proposed that workers be “able to share the benefits” of the wealthy’s profits to level out income inequality.
Bloomberg also touted in the debate that he is the only candidate on the stage to start a business.
Bloomberg was an immediate target for other Democratic candidates during his first debate appearance of the 2020 presidential campaign.