Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) slammed fellow presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg on Wednesday, saying she was deeply “concerned” the billionaire had already spent so much on the race for the White House, alluding he was merely doing so to save money on his taxes.
“Dropping $37 million in one week on ad buys? I don’t believe that elections ought to be for sale,” Warren said during an interview on Wednesday that aired on Bloomberg’s own media network, Bloomberg TV. “And I don’t think as a Democratic Party that we should say that the only way you’re going to get elected, the only way you’re going to be our nominee, is either if you are a billionaire or if you’re sucking up to billionaires.”
The comments were Warren’s latest efforts to go after the billionaire class running to unseat another rich man, President Donald Trump. Aside from Bloomberg, the former New York mayor who announced his formal bid for the White House on Nov. 24, billionaire investor Tom Steyer is also running and has spent lavishly to help fund his campaign.
Warren has gone after Bloomberg before. Last month the senator accused him of trying to “buy the nomination” after he paid for at least $37 million in campaign ads over a two week period around Thanksgiving. He’s since spent more than $57 million on TV advertising, according to CNBC.
Steyer has spent about $60 million since July.
Just before Warren’s interview on Wednesday, the candidate bought her own ad to air briefly on Bloomberg TV, lambasting the billionaire class and touting her proposed wealth tax, which would levy an annual two-cent tax on net worth over $50 million. Fortunes over $1 billion would face a 6% tax.
“Yeah, some people have figured out, you know, it’d be a lot cheaper to spend a few hundred mil just buying the presidency instead of paying that 2% wealth tax,” Warren says in the ad. (A separate ad spot in November took aim at “billionaire tears.”)
Other 2020 candidates have unveiled their own proposals to rein in widening income inequality in America. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has pushed a similar but far more dramatic proposal that would effectively cut the wealth of billionaires in half within 15 years, according to a report by The New York Times.