Billionaire Michael Bloomberg on Tuesday accused President Trump of “totally incompetent management” that resulted in a partial government shutdown.
“To me, the government shutdown was an utter failure of executive leadership and I think it is an example of just how totally incompetent management can needlessly hurt millions of people,” he said at a political forum hosted by Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Mr. Bloomberg, a former New York mayor, is eyeing a 2020 presidential run as a Democrat and testing the water in New Hampshire, home of the first primary vote. Over the years he has switched from Republican to independent and recently to Democrat while financing a national gun-control group.
Veering from a speech that otherwise focused on an urgent need to combat climate change, Mr. Bloomberg said the partial government shutdown illustrated the failures of the Trump presidency.
The partial shutdown ended Friday after a record 35-day lapse of funding kept 800,000 federal workers either furloughed or working without pay.
“This has damaged the country and it will take a while to recover,” he said.
Mr. Bloomberg continued: “I’m glad the shutdown is over for now but the American people will continue, I think, to pay a steep cost for the White House’s total incompetence because the president is fixated on a wall we don’t need instead of the real challenges that we face.”
The challenges he listed tracked closely with the platforms of other Democratic hopefuls in the quest to take on Mr. Trump.
“Challenges like creating good-paying jobs. Challenges like making health care more affordable. Challenges like stopping the opioid crisis that is tearing so many families and communities apart — a very big problem that’s a matter of fact is here in New Hampshire. Your rate of opioid addiction is among the highest in the country,” he said.
“There is the challenge of improving our public schools and making college more affordable. The future for all of our citizens is education, more and more, every day and unfortunately, we are not preparing people for the world that they are going to have to face. We also have to invest in infrastructure. The list goes on and on,” said Mr. Bloomberg.
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