Mike Bloomberg said in 2016 that banks were 'his peeps' and vowed to defend them as president. That contradicts his recent pledge to get tough on Wall Street.
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- Former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg said he would "defend the banks" as president during a closed-door event in 2016 in leaked comments first reported by CNN.
- He also slammed Sen. Elizabeth Warren, now a Democratic primary rival.
- "Well, to start, my first campaign platform would be to defend the banks, and you know how well that's gonna sell in this country," the billionaire media executive said.
- The remarks appear to contradict Bloomberg's campaign promise to get tough on Wall Street.
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Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg said at a closed-door event in 2016 that he would "defend the banks" if he were ever elected president and slammed Democratic presidential rival Sen. Elizabeth Warren, according to CNN.
During the appearance, Bloomberg said income inequality was an issue that needed to be confronted before society "blows up."
"Well, to start, my first campaign platform would be to defend the banks, and you know how well that's gonna sell in this country," the billionaire media executive said.
"But seriously," he added, "somebody's gotta stand up and do what we need: a healthy banking system that's going to take risks because that's what creates the jobs for everybody. And nobody's willing to say that. The trouble is, these campaigns in this day and age, really are about slogans and not about issues anymore."
He also referred to the Wall Street crowd: "These are my peeps."
The remarks appear to contradict Bloomberg's 2020 campaign promise to get tough on Wall Street. Last week, he released a plan that distanced himself from the sector in which he amassed a sizable fortune and sought to impose a 0.1% tax on every stock and bond traded.
It echoed proposals from Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, both champions of progressive policy in the Democratic Party.
Stu Loeser, a campaign spokesperson, told CNN "the opening line" on defending the banks "was a joke" and pointed to Bloomberg's full answer on the need for the wealthiest Americans to abandon policies that worsen inequality.
The Bloomberg campaign didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
The former mayor later detailed a possible set of solutions to curb inequality, which could include new taxes.
"Look at the income inequality," he said. "Anytime we've had this before, society blows up and they do set up the guillotines and the guillotines don't have to chop your head off."
Bloomberg went on: "They could be confiscatory taxes, they could be seizing the endowments of educational institutions and philanthropic organizations, all of which those proposals are out there. You know, you're going to have to do something about this income inequality and a lot of it comes from zero interest rates."
He also warned against the rise of progressive lawmakers in the US, citing Warren.
"The left is arising. The progressive movement is just as scary," he says. "Elizabeth Warren on one side. And whoever you want to pick on the Republicans on the right side?"
Bloomberg is waging a self-funded campaign, relying on his own substantial fortune and vastly outspending his rivals on political advertising, The New York Times reported.
He has spent over $500 million so far on ads alone, according to Business Insider's Jake Lahut.
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