Bloomberg takes jab at Sanders while pitching himself to Jewish voters
Posted January 26, 2020 9:43 p.m. EST
CNN — In a speech rallying Jewish supporters in Miami on Sunday afternoon, Michael Bloomberg took a jab at the other Jewish candidate in the 2020 race for the Democratic presidential nomination -- Sen. Bernie Sanders.
"Now, I know I'm not the only Jewish candidate running for president. But I am the only one who doesn't want to turn America into a kibbutz," Bloomberg said near the top of his remarks at the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center and Tauber Academy Social Hall, avoiding the use of Sanders' name.
Sanders spent time in Israel during the 1960s as a volunteer on a kibbutz, which is a communal farm, and calls himself a democratic socialist. In 2016, Sanders became the first Jewish candidate to win a major party primary contest when he won in New Hampshire.
The Sanders campaign did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment.
Sanders, who polled in first place in the latest CNN national poll that was released last week and held the lead in Iowa and New Hampshire polls released this weekend, is heading into next week's Iowa caucuses with momentum.
The billionaire has shied away from attacking his fellow Democratic candidates, preferring to call out President Donald Trump for decisions and language he disagrees with.
Among those decisions Bloomberg called out on Sunday during his speech to a room filled with Jewish voters was the language Trump uses -- specifically when he calls his supporters "real Americans" -- a term used by hate groups in the past.
"When the President calls his supporters 'real Americans' -- an echo of the language that nativists, anti-Semites, and the KKK used for many decades, he undermines our fundamental national values. When he is silent -- and even supportive, through his words and tweets -- as racist groups spread hate, he puts the public safety of our communities at risk. And when he promotes conspiracy theories that are built on lies and prejudice, we must remember: Anti-Semitism is the original conspiracy theory. And a world in which a president traffics in conspiracy theories is a world in which Jews are not safe," Bloomberg said.
The former New York City mayor also committed during this speech to "always have Israel's back" amid certain decisions the Trump administration has made during the President's tenure in office, and added. "if I am elected, you will never have to choose between supporting our values here at home. I will defend both -- because unlike this President, you and I know they are inextricably linked."
Speaking about the Iran nuclear deal, which Trump pulled out of in May 2018 and followed the withdrawal with new sanctions on the regime, Bloomberg said that while he initially opposed the deal that was put into place by the Obama administration, he'd work to revive it.
"As president, I will work to make the strongest deal possible to constrain the Iranian regime's aggression and territorial ambitions, and put an end to their nuclear program, because the world must never allow Iran to threaten Israel and the whole region with a nuclear attack," Bloomberg said.
Bloomberg went on to further explain his commitment to Israel by telling the story of how his parents didn't have the means to take him to Israel as a child. But he said that he's traveled there many times as an adult, including in 2014 when the FAA banned American airlines from flying to Israel during the Gaza conflict.
"In my own little way, I wanted to show the world that Jews would never let fear of terrorism keep us out of Israel," Bloomberg said.