Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg opened Tuesday night’s Democratic debate with a claim that Russian President Vladimir Putin actually wants Sen. Bernie Sanders (I.Vt.) to be the Democratic nominee. However, the reason is not to secure an election win for the Democrats, he says.
With Sanders as the presidential nominee, Bloomberg suggests it increase the chances of re-election for President Donald Trump.
“I think that Donald Trump thinks it would be better if he’s president. I do not think so. Vladimir Putin thinks that Donald Trump should be president of the United States, and that’s why Russia is helping you get elected because you’ll lose to him,” Bloomberg said to Sanders.
Watch the video below:
Mike Bloomberg tells Bernie Sanders:— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) February 26, 2020
"Vladimir Putin thinks that Donald Trump should be president of the United States, and that’s why Russia is helping you get elected.” pic.twitter.com/GrJaHnZ0eC
While Bloomberg’s accusation received a reaction from the audience, there’s been no evidence to support the claim. It has been reported that Bloomberg’s claims were in reference to reports from anonymous intelligence officials.
The reports accused Russia of working to promote division within the Democratic party. Helping Sanders could further cause division as some Democrats are apprehensive about the idea of a self-described Democratic socialist winning the presidential nomination.
Sanders immediately fired back at the billionaire businessman to recall his past praise of China’s President Xi Jinping. The Democratic frontrunner closed his argument with a message for Vladamir Putin.
“I’m not a good friend of President Xi of China,” Sanders said. “I think President Xi is an authoritarian leader, and let me tell Mr. Putin, who interfered in the 2016 election and tried to bring Americans against Americans: Hey Mr. Putin, if I’m president of the United States, trust me, you’re not going to interfere in any more American elections.”