Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has enjoyed a sharp increase in popularity over the past week as he continues his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. The fact that he has become one of the left’s primary targets seems to solidify his ascendence.
On Feb. 15, the Drudge Report claimed Bloomberg is considering picking failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as his running mate. But is this a legitimate rumor, a shrewd political distraction, or both?
Rumors Spread about Bloomberg and Clinton
According to Drudge, members of the Bloomberg campaign claimed that they are looking at the former secretary of state “after their polling found the Bloomberg-Clinton combination would be a formidable force.” The site also indicated that the candidate would even change his official residence from New York to homes in Florida or Colorado. The reason for this is that the “electoral college makes it hard for a POTUS and VPOTUS from the same state.”
This story comes as other rumors suggested that Clinton was planning another run for president in 2020. However, the former candidate has neither confirmed nor denied these assertions.
Is This a Distraction?
Since Bloomberg has surged in the polls, he has faced a series of attacks. Earlier this week, an audio recording was released of Bloomberg defending the controversial “stop and frisk” policy during a 2015 speech. He has also been called out for making racist comments in the past. A well-known Washington newspaper on Feb. 15 published a report detailing the former mayor’s history of making sexist comments.
The article discusses several instances in which Bloomberg made vulgar and sexually explicit remarks about women. In some of these cases, he directed these remarks toward female employees. Apparently, his inappropriate comments were so numerous that one of his aides presented him – on the occasion of his 48th birthday in 1990 – with a booklet that listed his verbal transgressions.
The booklet, titled “The Wit and Wisdom of Michael Bloomberg,” was intended as a joke. It contains 32 pages of sordid remarks made by the former mayor. One of the entries claims he stated that a good salesperson is similar to a man who hits on women at bars by saying, “Do you want to f***? He gets turned down a lot — but he gets f***** a lot, too!” The booklet also quotes Bloomberg as saying his company’s computers “will do everything, including give you [oral sex]. I guess that puts a lot of you girls out of business.”
While some of Bloomberg’s employees laughed at the comments, others weren’t quite so amused. The article details the many lawsuits filed against the candidate by women accusing him and his company of discrimination against females. One of the suits even suggested that he created “a culture of sexual harassment and degradation.”
The most incendiary case involved a former female salesperson who sued both Bloomberg and his company. Accusing him of discrimination, she claimed that when he found out she was pregnant, he told her to “kill it.” The candidate denied the allegations but settled with the former employee outside of court.
In the #MeToo era, there is no doubt that this story would cause potentially irreparable harm to the candidate if it received widespread attention. This would make the timing of the release of the Clinton story rather convenient; it would likely distract from the brewing scandal. But Bloomberg will probably have to come up with more than rumors if he is going to draw enough attention away from his past.
Read more from Jeff Charles.