Former New York City mayor and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg was heckled before the start of his campaign rally on Wednesday in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The protester was captured on video storming the stage and grabbing the microphone from a speaker who introduced the billionaire to a gathering of his supporters.
“That is not Democracy! That is plutocracy!” a woman screamed before she was escorted off the stage by security.
The former mayor entered the race last November and is one of the wealthiest Democratic candidates in the presidential race.
Bloomberg’s wealth has many, especially on the left, questioning whether the former mayor is buying his way to the top of the presidential ticket.
Co-chair for Senator Bernie Sanders’ national campaign, Nina Turner, referred to Bloomberg as an “oligarch” and created a flurry of news headlines during a segment on MSNBC before the start of the Iowa caucuses last week.
Turner was asked by MSNBC host Chris Matthews whether she thinks Mike Bloomberg is an oligarch. “He is,” Turner replied. “He skipped Iowa. Iowans should be insulted. Buying his way into this race, period. The DNC changed the rules. They didn’t change it for Senator Harris. They didn’t change it for Senator Booker. They didn’t change it for Secretary Castro.”
The former mayor has spent hundreds of billions of dollars on advertising, and according to Forbes, Bloomberg is worth $60 billion.
Matthews then asked Turner whether she believed Bloomberg had bought his way into the debates in which Turner said, “He absolutely did.”
After a change to the qualifying rule for the Democratic debates was announced by the party’s national committee – a rule which scrapped the requirement for candidates to acquire donations from thousands of supporters – many, once again, called into question the legitimacy of Bloomberg’s presidential bid.
In order to qualify for the next debate, the former mayor will need one delegate from the Iowa or New Hampshire caucuses or reach 10% support in four national polls and 12% in two single-state polls in Nevada and South Carolina.
“Now that the grassroots support is actually captured in real voting, the criteria will no longer require a donor threshold,” said Adrienne Watson, a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee.
Bloomberg shot to third place nationally this week in a series of Democratic presidential polls despite not participating in any of the Democratic debates.
Audio recordings this week of Bloomberg defending his controversial stop-and-frisk policing policy surfaced for which he received severe backlash from all sides of the political aisle, including President Trump’s reelection campaign manager, Brad Parscale.
95% of murders — murderers and murder victims — fit one M.O. You can just take a description, Xerox it, and pass it out to all the cops,” said Bloomberg.
“They are male, minorities, 16-25 [years old]. That’s true in New York, that’s true in virtually every city … And that’s where the real crime is. You’ve got to get the guns out of the hands of people that are getting killed.”
As the Democratic candidates struggle to earn support among African American voters, Bloomberg’s campaign clinched endorsements from three members of the Congressional Black Caucus on Wednesday. The approval included Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Ga., Delegate Stacey Plaskett, D-V.I., and Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y.
“I first met Mike when I was searching for ways to fight against the dangerous gun laws that ripped my son from my life,” said McBath who lost her son to gun violence in a statement to Bloomberg’s campaign.