Bloomberg in 2012: ‘I’m a big fan of Donald Trump’

Does Mike Bloomberg have enough money to erase his past?

Years before Bloomberg attacked President Donald Trump as a “con man” on national television, the billionaire was praising his fellow New Yorker as “a great guy” and a “New York icon,” Fox News reports. Bloomberg’s rivals — and Trump himself — have wasted no time highlighting his history with Trump and his past as a Republican donor.

Flashback: Bloomberg praises Trump

Bloomberg’s entire pitch for the presidency is that he’s not Trump, that Trump is a bad guy, and that only he can beat the incumbent. The billionaire called Trump an “arrogant con man” at Wednesday night’s debate in Las Vegas and touted his ability, as a fellow New York power broker, to take him on.

But Bloomberg was singing a very different tune before he decided to jump in the race. Back in 2012, amid speculation that Trump would run for president, Bloomberg told ABC’s Good Morning America that he was a big fan of The Donald.

“I know Donald Trump. He’s a great guy. He doesn’t do everything he says, but he sure tries. And I’m a big fan of Donald Trump.” Watch below:

In a 2011 interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace, Bloomberg called Trump a “New York icon” and even downplayed Trump’s role in spreading the theory that President Barack Obama was not a U.S. citizen. “This birther issue is more than one person. There’s a lot of groups that have glommed onto this,” Bloomberg said.

Trump, Dems slam hypocrisy

Bloomberg’s past praise of Trump is just one part of a larger problem for the former mayor: his record. The other Democratic presidential candidates pummeled the billionaire over his past as a Republican and his comments on numerous controversies, seeking to portray Bloomberg as an untrustworthy figure with questionable views on race and a corrupt ambition to “buy” the nomination.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT), the Dems’ current frontrunner, shared a photo of Bloomberg and Trump golfing together after the Bloomberg team labeled Sanders “Trump’s bro” earlier this week. Former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign did not hesitate to share Bloomberg’s resurfaced words of kindness for The Donald — and neither has Trump, who claimed that the old Bloomberg who praised him is “the REAL Mini Mike.”

The question of who the “real” Bloomberg really is was brought to the forefront in Las Vegas, where Democrats gave Bloomberg a drubbing over his past comments about “stop-and-frisk,” his treatment of women, and other controversies. Trump has been on a tear ripping Bloomberg’s “worst debate performance in history” and facetiously thanking him for declaring Trump the winner of the divisive debate.

Can Bloomberg erase his past?

Meanwhile, Trump continually mocks Bloomberg’s stature, dubbing him “Mini Mike,” while Bloomberg fired back that Trump is a “carnival barking clown.” But Bloomberg continued to praise Trump until fairly recently. In 2016, Politico reports, Bloomberg called Trump a “nice person” and recalled that he once told Trump, “Yes, Donald, I love you.”

Bloomberg has dismissed the resurfaced comments, but the Trump campaign slammed him as an opportunist and a hypocrite who turned on Trump for personal gain. “Envy and ambition overpower everything else for Mike Bloomberg,” Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said. “He’s just like Hillary Clinton and many others — happy to be friendly with Donald Trump when it’s convenient but eager to attack him when it’s politically expedient.”

The billionaire is seeking to over-write his complicated history by blasting more than $400 million into slick advertisements, which paid off with a surge in the polls. However, Biden accused Bloomberg of trying to tell a misleading story about his relationship with Obama in the ads, and during the debate, he called Bloomberg out for describing Obamacare as a “disgrace” back in 2010.

The Democrats do have a point. Bloomberg is a phony. He was Trump’s friend until it no longer suited his political ambitions.

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