PHILADELPHIA (JTA) — Michael Bloomberg urged Independents to vote for Hillary Clinton, saying Donald Trump was a “risky, reckless and radical choice.”
“I know what it’s like to have neither party represent my views or values,” the former three-term New York mayor told the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday night.
“There are times when I disagree with Hillary Clinton,” he said. “But whatever our disagreements may be, I’ve come here to say: We must put them aside for the good of our country. And we must unite around the candidate who can defeat a dangerous demagogue.”
Bloomberg’s appearance was unusual at this convention, coming from a former Democrat who was less than full-throated in his Clinton endorsement.
Bloomberg, a media magnate, took aim at the purported business chops of the billionaire developer and reality star Trump, the Republican nominee.
“Throughout his career, Trump has left behind a well-documented record of bankruptcies, thousands of lawsuits, angry shareholders and contractors who feel cheated, and disillusioned customers who feel ripped off,” he said. “Trump says he wants to run the nation like he’s run his business. God help us.”
Bloomberg indulged in the blunt New Yorkisms that made him a popular mayor – and have also driven part of Trump’s popularity.
On Wednesday, they had the same effect for Bloomberg among Democrats as they have had for Trump among Republicans: applause and raucous laughter.
“He says he wants to put Americans back to work, but he games the U.S. visa system so he can hire temporary foreign workers at low wages,” Bloomberg said. “He says he wants to deport 11 million undocumented people, but he seems to have no problem in hiring them. What’d I miss here? Truth be told, the richest thing about Donald Trump is his hypocrisy.”
He praised Clinton for working across the aisle, particularly when she was a New York senator and he was mayor, and in response to the challenges following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. (Bloomberg was elected to his first term just weeks after the attacks.)
Bloomberg, who is Jewish, commissioned polls earlier this year to test his own possible run for president as an Independent.