“With regard to Michael Bloomberg, I welcome him in the race. Michael’s a solid guy. And let’s see where this goes. I have no problem with him getting in the race,” Biden, 76, told reporters Friday after filing his official paperwork for the New Hampshire Primary, the first primary in the nation, which will be held Feb. 11, 2020.
Biden was asked to comment on whether Bloomberg’s presidential bid would suggest there had been doubts on whether he could win the primary.
“In terms of he’s running because of me, the last polls I looked at, I’m pretty far ahead,” Biden responded. “In all the early states that we have to win back, If I’m not mistaken, I’m doing pretty well both relative to [President Donald Trump] and relative to all the people running in the Democratic primary.”
Bloomberg, 77, filed paperwork on Friday to get on the ballot in the Alabama Democratic Primary as its deadline was on the same day. But he has not formally announced his presidential campaign.
In March, the former three-term New York City mayor had indicated that he would not seek the Democratic nomination for 2020.
“I believe I would defeat Donald Trump in a general election,” Bloomberg wrote in an opinion piece on Bloomberg News at the time. “But I am clear-eyed about the difficulty of winning the Democratic nomination in such a crowded field.”
Sources told several news outlets on Thursday that Bloomberg, a frequent critic of Trump, was considering a White House bid as he wasn’t satisfied with the current group of Democrats running for office.
“He thinks Biden is weak and [Bernie] Sanders and Warren can’t win,” said a source familiar with Bloomberg’s decision, reported the New York Post.
Howard Wolfson, an adviser to Bloomberg, wrote on Twitter: “We now need to finish the job and ensure that Trump is defeated—but Mike is increasingly concerned that the current field of candidates is not well positioned to do that.
“If Mike runs he would offer a new choice to Democrats built on a unique record running America’s biggest city, building a business from scratch, and taking on some of America’s toughest challenges as a high-impact philanthropist.”
Wolfson also noted that Bloomberg believes that Trump “represents an unprecedented threat to our nation” and had warned against a Trump presidency in 2016 when he spoke at the Democratic National Convention.
Wolfson said that Bloomberg had spent more than $100 million in 2018 to support Democrats in retaking control of the U.S. House of Representatives in congressional elections. “And this year he helped Democrats win control of both houses of the Virginia legislature,” he added.
Bloomberg would be the second-oldest presidential contender behind 78-year-old Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) if he officially joined the race.
Currently, 17 candidates are vying for the Democratic presidential nomination to challenge Trump in November 2020.
Trump, 73, responded to news of Bloomberg potentially running for president on Friday.
“I’ve known Michael Bloomberg for a long time,” Trump told reporters. “If you go back early on, he had said a lot of great things about Trump. But I know Michael, he became just a nothing. He was really a nothing.”
“He’s not going to do well, but I think he’s going to hurt Biden actually. But he doesn’t have the magic to do well,” Trump added. “Little Michael will fail. He’ll spend a lot of money” in the election, but he will ultimately not win, he said.
“He’s got some really big issues, he’s got some personal problems, and he’s got a lot of other problems,” Trump also said, without elaborating.
“If he did [do well] then I’d be happy. There is nobody I’d rather run against than little Michael,” he said of Bloomberg.