Michael Bloomberg comes under scathing attack at fiery Democratic presidential debate

Michael Bloomberg has risen to No. 2 among Democrats behind Bernie Sanders, according to a Reuters/Ipsos national poll. (Reuters)
Updated 20 February 2020

Michael Bloomberg comes under scathing attack at fiery Democratic presidential debate

  • Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg all lined up to go after Michael Bloomberg
  • The self-funding former New York mayor said at the debate that he was using his money for an important cause

LAS VEGAS: Michael Bloomberg faced a barrage of attacks at his first Democratic presidential debate on Wednesday, as his rivals assailed the free-spending and fast-rising billionaire over his record on race, history of sexist comments and the use of his massive fortune to muscle his way into the contest.
In a rough debate debut that gave voters their first unscripted look at the media mogul and self-funding former New York mayor, Bloomberg seemed uncomfortable and hesitant as he defended his record and argued that he is Democrats’ best chance of beating Republican President Donald Trump in November.
Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg all lined up to go after Bloomberg, who has surged in polls helped by an unprecedented advertising blitz. But they also heaped personal attacks on one another in the most contentious of the nine Democratic White House debates.
All of the contenders on the Las Vegas debate stage accused Bloomberg of trying to buy his way into the White House and said his record as mayor and businessman was not good enough to beat Trump.
“We’re running against a billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse-faced lesbians,” said Warren, a senator from Massachusetts. “And, no, I’m not talking about Donald Trump, I’m talking about Mayor Bloomberg.”
“Democrats take a huge risk if we just substitute one arrogant billionaire for another,” she added.
Bloomberg has been accused over the years of many sexist and misogynistic comments, and several lawsuits have been filed alleging that women were discriminated against at his media company.
He did not respond to Warren’s comments about his alleged remarks about women, taken from a booklet given to him in 1990 that was said to be a compilation of his sayings over the years. A campaign spokesman has said Bloomberg “simply did not say the things somebody wrote in this gag gift.”
Bloomberg, who entered the race in November and is skipping the first four early voting states in February to focus on later nominating contests in March, has risen to No. 2 among Democrats behind Sanders, according to a Reuters/Ipsos national poll released on Tuesday.
Bloomberg said at the debate that he was using his money for an important cause.
“I’m spending that money to get rid of Donald Trump – the worst president we’ve ever had. And if I can get that done, it will be a great contribution to America and to my kids,” he said.
The debate came at a pivotal time, three days before Nevada’s presidential caucuses, the third contest in the state-by-state race to find a challenger to Trump in the Nov. 3 election.
The high stakes were evident in the intensity of the exchanges, with Biden and Warren, in particular, facing the do-or-die task of reigniting their campaigns after poor showings in Iowa and New Hampshire earlier this month.
“We are not going to beat Donald Trump with a man who has who knows how many nondisclosure agreements, and the drip, drip, drip of stories of women saying they have been harassed and discriminated against,” said Warren, who had her most aggressive debate.
Bloomberg said there were “very few” nondisclosure agreements. “None of them accuse me of anything,” he said. “Maybe they didn’t like the jokes I told.”


Turkey blocks delivery of medical equipment to coronavirus hard-hit Spain

Updated 47 min 37 sec ago

Turkey blocks delivery of medical equipment to coronavirus hard-hit Spain

  • Spain had yet to receive the respirators it had bought from China after Turkey “decided to keep them in case they may need them in their battle against coronavirus”
  • Turkey earlier restricted the export of respirator-related medical equipment in order to meet domestic needs

DUBAI: The Spanish government said on Friday that Turkey had blocked a delivery of medical supplies urgently needed to help tackle the coronavirus outbreak in the country, local daily El Pais reported.  

Spain had yet to receive the respirators it had bought from China after Turkey “decided to keep them in case they may need them in their battle against coronavirus,” Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya said during a press conference.

The newly appointed minister of Spain - which on Saturday has briefly overtaken Italy as the country with the second-highest number of COVID-19 infections - said the equipment remained in Turkish custody over Ankara’s restrictions on the export of medical devices.

Last month Turkey’s trade minister said the country was restricting the export of respirator-related medical equipment in order to meet domestic needs.

Ruhsar Pekcan said that the export of equipment including ventilators, intubation devices and intensive care monitors would be subject to government authorization.

The Spanish embassy said it had been trying to resume the delivery of the respirators, which were particularly bought by two local communities with critically ill coronavirus patients, according to unnamed sources cited by El Pais.