Bloomberg defends spending to oust Trump in 2020 election: ‘You can’t get to 330 million people by shaking hands’

US presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg is ready to spend much of his vast fortune to oust Donald Trump from the White House in 2020, rejecting criticism from rivals for the Democratic nomination that the billionaire is trying to buy the US election.

Ranked by Forbes as the eighth-richest American, Mr Bloomberg has flooded US airwaves and social media feeds with messages that he stands the best chance to beat Mr Trump, spending more on campaign ads since he launched his campaign in November than his main Democratic rivals have over the last year.

“Number one priority is to get rid of Donald Trump. I’m spending all my money to get rid of Trump,” Mr Bloomberg told Reuters aboard his campaign bus on Saturday, during a nearly 300-mile drive across Texas, one of the 14 states that will vote on Super Tuesday on 3 March.

“Do you want me to spend more or less? End of story.”

Elizabeth Warren, one of the leading Democratic presidential contenders who has vowed to get money out of politics, blasted Mr Bloomberg when he launched his campaign with a $37m (£28.3m) TV advertising blitz, accusing the former New York City mayor of trying to buy American democracy.

These are just political things they say, hoping they catch on and they don’t like me doing it, because it competes with them, not because it’s bad policy,” Mr Bloomberg said.

After entering the race late and missing the first six Democratic debates, Mr Bloomberg generally sits fifth in national public opinion polls behind Joe BidenBernie Sanders, Ms Warren and Pete Buttigieg.

But not just the two liberal standard-bearers of Ms Warren and Mr Sanders, all of the four are too liberal to beat Mr Trump, Bloomberg said.

“One of the reasons I’m reasonably confident I could beat Trump is I would be acceptable to the moderate Republicans you have to have,” said Mr Bloomberg, a former Republican who made his fortune selling financial information to Wall Street firms.

“Whether you like it or not, you can’t win the election unless you get moderate Republicans to cross the line. The others are much too liberal for them and they would certainly vote for Donald Trump.”

After a late entry into the race, he is skipping the first four Democratic nomination contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina all due to take place in February.

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