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Bloomberg slams 'lawless' Trump at Detroit rally

Leonard N. Fleming
The Detroit News

Detroit — Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg slammed President Donald Trump while in Michigan Tuesday, lambasting him as a divider, "lawless" and a "bully," while insisting he is the only Democrat who can reunite the country and win in November.

Bloomberg, the former Republican-turned-Democrat who entered the race just over two months ago, spoke at a rally attended by a few hundred people at Detroit's Eastern Market. He outlined how his successes as mayor of the nation's largest city and as a businessman have prepared him for the Oval Office.

Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg shakes hands after he speaks to more than 450 supporters in Detroit's Eastern Market.

While touting his record in New York, which he said included cutting crime and protecting the environment, Bloomberg said the focus must be on beating Trump, and Michigan will play a pivotal role in that effort.

Speaking about nine hours before the president’s State of the Union address Tuesday night, Bloomberg said Trump will say the country is strong "but the truth, and we all know it, is that our union is divided like it has never been before in our lifetimes because, let's face it, we have an angry, out-of-control, lawless president dividing the American people and abusing his office."

Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg takes selfies with attendees after he speaks.

The Democratic-controlled House impeached Trump on two articles, but the Republican-led Senate is expected Wednesday to vote to acquit the president.

Bloomberg, who was given a rousing introduction by Wayne County Executive Warren Evans, said his mission is simple: To defeat Trump and bring the country back together.

"Donald Trump's insults don't bother me," Bloomberg insisted. "I'm a New Yorker and I've never backed down from a bully or run away from a fight. Somebody's got to stand up for every American who's lost their job or lost their insurance or can't pay their college tuition.

Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg addresses more than 450 people in a building at Eastern Market.

"Donald Trump has tried to bully a lot of these people over the last three years," he added. "He's not going to bully us and we won't let him bully you either."

Bloomberg's talking points won't resonate with the people of Michigan, said Laura Cox, the chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party.

"While Michael Bloomberg thinks he can buy the state of Michigan in this election, it does not negate the fact that his policies are purely out-of-touch with the people and priorities of our state," Cox said in a statement. "The hard-working people of Michigan will reject Bloomberg’s candidacy through and through, because they know they have an ally in President Trump and his pro-growth policies."

The former mayor said he will be spending the next several weeks in swing states such as Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Michigan — states the Democratic Party needs to win in November to oust the president.

Michigan has been a focal point of Bloomberg's late-entry candidacy as he has spent $7.5 million on a flurry of television ads. "While all the other Democratic candidates have flown to New Hampshire now, I'm here in Michigan because we have to win this state in November if we're going to beat Donald Trump, make no mistake about it."

Trump, he said, knows the importance of Michigan in the election too, and that the president "said something that should really worry all of us. He said that he was higher in the polls than than he was in 2016, and for once he was telling the truth," Bloomberg said.

But Bloomberg also mentioned poll numbers showing him beating Trump in a match-up. "More than any other candidate, we have the momentum going with us," he said. "And our campaign is only barely two months old."

Bloomberg field organizer Brenda Hill, second from left, of Detroit, talks with others about texting before they enter the warehouse. More than 450 people listen as Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, campaigns inside The Eastern Detroit building at 3434 Russell St. in Detroit's Eastern Market, Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 4, 2020.

Diamond Greenwood, 27, of Detroit, held up a sign as supporters walked out of the rally that read, "Keep Calm, Vote Mike Bloomberg." She's been excited about his candidacy because of his success in New York, she said.

"I think he does have a chance to win. Although he did get into it late, I have been seeing a lot of campaign workers, I've been seeing a lot of supporters," Greenwood said. "His message is really good. I think he does have what it takes to win. Consistency. He's advertising really well."

Paul Rivard, 71, and his wife, Cathy, 72, came down from Macomb County to hear Bloomberg speak. Paul Rivard is undecided and his wife is heavily leaning toward the former mayor.

"I want to hear what he has to say," Paul Rivard said. "I haven't made my mind up one way or the other. But what I hear sounds good. Just the things he's done in New York. Jobs. Health care."

Cathy Rivard said Bloomberg "seems like a really nice guy" and he's talking about "what he's going to do, what he can do, what he has done, rather than knock on the other guys."

Meanwhile, Bloomberg said he as president will fix health care for all Americans, pass gun control laws, fix immigration, take on discrimination and focus on "making America a global leader in the fight against climate change."

"This is a campaign for change," Bloomberg said. "For sanity, for honesty, for inclusion and compassion and human decency."

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