U.S. President Donald Trump’s campaign team says it is unfazed by billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s spending in the race for the Democratic nomination.
Mr Bloomberg has spent more than 100 million dollars of his own money on advertising and voter registration efforts for a relatively late entry in the race for the Democratic nomination.
Mr Trump has been uncharacteristically quiet on Mr Bloomberg.
He has declined to publicly attack the media mogul and philanthropist since the Democrat launched his White House bid last month.
The president has not mentioned Mr Bloomberg at rallies, where he regularly derides Democratic presidential candidates Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg with zeal.
That amount does not include other campaign spending such as on staff, travel and offices since Mr Bloomberg entered the race in November after saying earlier in the year that he would not compete in 2020.
“At this point in the game, I don’t know that you recover from that. He hasn’t been in any debates, people haven’t really heard much from him.
“While he does have a lot of money to spend, so do we.
“We have a ton of money at the Trump campaign,” said Lara Trump, a senior adviser to the president’s reelection campaign and his daughter-in-law.
The Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign raised a combined 125 million dollars in the third quarter of 2019.
Mr Bloomberg’s fundraising will not be revealed until next week, when every presidential candidate is required to file a year-end report.
However, the candidate has said he will reject all political donations and will self-fund his entire campaign.
The former New York City mayor – who Donald Trump taunted in 2016 as not having “the guts to run for president” – currently has a net worth of 55.9 billion dollars.
Forbes said Mr Bloomberg is the eighth wealthiest American. Donald Trump ranks 275th on the list with a projected net worth of 3.7 billion dollars.
Republicans close to the national party told McClatchy that when Mr Bloomberg was preparing to enter the race they worried the self-made billionaire would get under Mr Trump’s skin.
But Tim Murtaugh, a Trump campaign spokesman, told McClatchy in a statement, “We don’t spend a lot of time thinking about Mike Bloomberg.”
Mr Bloomberg spokesman Michael Frazier, in an email to McClatchy, responded, “The Trump campaign has a funny way of showing they aren’t thinking about Mike.
“Maybe they can explain why they’ve criticised each of our office openings in battleground states, or why their campaign manager banned Bloomberg News from their events?”
After Bloomberg entered the race, the Trump campaign said it would no longer give credentials to reporters who work for Bloomberg News, although none of them have been prevented from attending his rallies so far.
While Mr Trump may privately be bothered by the rival billionaire, he has barely let it show in public.
The president has mentioned Mr Bloomberg once on Twitter, calling him “Mini Mike Bloomberg,” since the party-switching New Yorker announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination.
Mr Trump has acknowledged Mr Bloomberg just two other times during the same time frame in retweets of others’ comments.
In a recent interview Mr Trump only referred to Bloomberg to compare him unfavorably to Rudy Giuliani, another former New York City mayor who currently serves as the president’s personal attorney.
Mr Trump responded to a question about Mr Bloomberg’s bid for the Oval Office on the South Lawn of the White House on November 8.
“He doesn’t have the magic to do well.
“Little Michael will fail. He’ll spend a lot of money.
“He’s got some really big issues, he’s got some personal problems, and he’s got a lot of other problems,” Mr Trump said.
Money isn’t one of them, as Mr Trump himself acknowledged.
Mr Bloomberg’s billions have allowed him to invest early in states in the upper Midwest that will be crucial in next year’s general election.
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He is not competing in four states that have traditionally shaped the Democratic primary.
The states that Bloomberg is targeting were intended to form a “Blue Wall” that would prevent Mr Trump from winning the 2016 presidential election.
Mr Trump carried three – Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan – by less than 1 per cent. A poll conducted by public affairs firm Firehouse Strategies, which is run by former aides to Republican Marco Rubio, shows Mr Trump with an edge in those three states.
Mr Trump campaign officials say they are building up their operation in 17 states, including the Midwest, to fend off any Democrat who wins the party’s nomination.
One official, at a December 12 briefing for reporters, suggested the campaign is expecting to face a Democratic opponent who has spent the last eight months focusing on states that hold early primaries and caucuses while Mr Trump rallies his supporters repeatedly in states such as Pennsylvania.
Bloomberg’s campaign told McClatchy in December that the candidate plans to open 13 offices in Pennsylvania, 12 in Ohio, nine in Michigan and seven in Wisconsin. He says he will keep offices in those states open until next November, irrespective of whether he becomes the Democratic nominee for president.
“Somebody said to me the other day that you’re spending a lot of money.
“And I said, ‘yes, I’m making an investment in replacing Donald Trump. It’s the best investment I could ever make. You want me to spend more or less?’” Mr Bloomberg said at his office opening in Milwaukee on Saturday.
Lara Trump, who is married to the president’s son Eric, told McClatchy that Mr Bloomberg does not have widespread name recognition and campaign advertising dollars generate a finite amount of voter enthusiasm.
“Yeah, he’s a very wealthy guy, he can spend a lot of money, but I don’t think a lot of people around this country quite frankly know Michael Bloomberg very well,” she added.
Mr Bloomberg has not charted double-digit support in any national surveys, but he has consistently polled in fifth place behind Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Pete Buttigieg.
He polls at 4.9 per cent nationally on average.
Lara Trump said she doesn’t see Bloomberg catching up.
The candidates attracting the most combined support in the Democratic field are Ms Warren and Mr Sanders, both of whom are shunning the ultra-wealthy and have focused their campaign fundraising on grassroots donations.
“Those are the people that seem to have a lot of momentum behind them.
“I don’t see him getting that energy,” Lara Trump said of Mr Bloomberg.