Yang’s remarks come after reports that Bloomberg is preparing to file paperwork to qualify for Alabama’s Democratic primary ahead of a Friday deadline, maneuvering toward a 2020 run after previously announcing in March that he would not seek the presidency.
While Bloomberg’s centrist political ideology could pose an electoral threat to more moderate candidates including former Vice President Joe Biden and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., the news of his possible campaign drew immediate criticism from the Democratic pack’s two top-polling progressives.
“Welcome to the race, @MikeBloomberg! If you’re looking for policy plans that will make a huge difference for working people and which are very popular, start here,” Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote Thursday on Twitter, including a link to an online calculator showing how much money billionaires would owe the federal government under her proposed wealth tax.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders also offered an implicit rebuke of Bloomberg, tweeting: “The billionaire class is scared and they should be scared.”
Yang was more deferential to his prospective competitor Friday, acknowledging that while a Bloomberg candidacy is “probably going to change the price of advertising” for other Democratic campaigns in some early-voting states, “certainly Mike has a very valuable perspective to offer” in the already crowded field.
“As an American, I’m glad that he’s looking at the race because he’s an extraordinary leader and has done a lot for the country,” he said.
Yang also suggested Bloomberg’s reconsideration of wading into the primary fight was rooted in an aversion toward the economic platforms of more liberal candidates, chiefly Warren and Sanders.
Both senators have employed pugilistic rhetoric targeting billionaires and large corporations, and have suggested redistributing wealth from the highest-income Americans to fund ambitious policy plans such as Medicare for All.
“I can’t speak for Mike, but if you look at the numbers, I think he’s concerned that there are a couple of front-runners that have economic perspectives that differ substantially from his, and that he wants to make sure that his perspective gets represented,” Yang said.
“You know, this is a democracy,” he continued. “You can’t fault someone for putting their hat in the ring, and I believe that Mike has a lot to add. He’s done a lot for the country over the last number of years.”