President Donald Trump’s campaign removed a reporter for Mike Bloomberg’s media company from an event in Iowa on Monday.
Bloomberg journalist Jennifer Jacobs was escorted from a Des Moines press conference over a policy barring the outlet from covering the president’s events, the Trump campaign said. The removal came just before Iowa’s highly anticipated caucuses on Monday night, which turned out to be an inconclusive train-wreck.
Trump campaign removes Bloomberg reporter
The Trump campaign revoked Bloomberg’s press credentials in December after the outlet announced it would continue investigating Trump in its reporting, but not Mike Bloomberg or his Democratic rivals. Jacobs was removed from the press conference because of the policy, the Trump campaign said.
“It was cordial, but she wasn’t credentialed per our policy,” an official told The Hill.
Mike Bloomberg defended the policy against criticism when it was announced, saying that “with your paycheck comes some restrictions and responsibilities.” But the Trump campaign responded by barring Bloomberg reporters from its events except in certain cases. Campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a statement at the time:
Since they have declared their bias openly, the Trump campaign will no longer credential representatives of Bloomberg News for rallies or other campaign events. We will determine whether to engage with individual reporters or answer inquiries from Bloomberg News on a case-by-case basis. This will remain the policy of the Trump campaign until Bloomberg News publicly rescinds its decision.
Trump declares win in Iowa
President Trump swept the Republican party’s Iowa caucuses with 97% of the votes, according to the Des Moines Register. But before the night was through, Trump was able to claim victory in another sense after the Iowa Democratic caucuses suffered a meltdown that clouded the outcome.
The Iowa Democratic Party blamed a glitch with a new app for reporting the results, as well as “inconsistencies” between the raw totals and the state delegate equivalents, for a delay in reporting that left the nation still waiting on a clear result by Tuesday afternoon. President Trump spent the morning mocking the Democrats, suggesting that they would blame Russian hackers for their incompetence, as conspiracies began brewing of a Democratic party plot to deny Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) an expected victory. Trump tweeted:
When will the Democrats start blaming RUSSIA, RUSSIA, RUSSIA, instead of their own incompetence for the voting disaster that just happened in the Great State of Iowa?
Bloomberg skips Iowa
The Iowa implosion was a huge embarrassment for Democrats, but it left many saying that Bloomberg — who skipped the Iowa caucuses altogether — would stand to benefit. He spent Monday campaigning in California, which has its primary on the delegate-rich Super Tuesday in March, so-called because of its large number of high-stakes primary contests.
Bloomberg will also ignore the New Hampshire primaries, the Nevada caucuses, and the South Carolina primaries, widely seen as important early contests, to focus on winning more delegates later in the primary calendar. The former New York mayor has also avoided the debates, which have fundraising qualifications, opting instead to run a self-funded campaign with his massive fortune in parallel to the crowded pack of candidates.
War of words
Ever since his late entry into the race, progressives have slammed Bloomberg as an oligarch who is trying to buy the presidency. Democratic candidates also cried foul over a rules change that would allow Bloomberg to begin participating in the debates, particularly after minority candidates, like Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), dropped out after failing to meet tightening thresholds.
But for all the criticism, he has risen to fourth place in national polls, and Trump is dialing up a war of words with “Mini Mike” Bloomberg, who slammed Trump’s “fake hair, his obesity and his spray-on tan” after Trump claimed that Bloomberg had requested a platform to stand on to appear taller in the debates, Reuters reported. Bloomberg has been pouring millions into advertisements attacking Trump, including a Super Bowl spot that Trump matched with an ad highlighting criminal justice reform, the Washington Times reported.
Bloomberg may stand to benefit from the Iowa debacle and billions in the bank, but all the money in the world can’t buy charisma like the president’s. Trump will give Bloomberg the Jeb Bush treatment before long.