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Ready for some "billionaire talk," as a recent Facebook post was so labeled?
"I have known Trump for decades," reads a quote the post attributes to former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. "We have traveled in the same business circles. He is known among millionaires as a con-artist and among business owners as a cheat out to stiff everyone."
This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
We felt cheated when we searched for this quote online. There were only three results, none of them credible. Next we turned to Nexis, where users can search archives of news stories. Bloomberg regularly draws the media’s attention and it would follow that a comment like this about President Donald Trump would be widely covered. We found nothing.
But, certainly, Bloomberg is no fan of the commander in chief. In 2016, at the Democratic National Convention, he called Trump a "dangerous demagogue." In January, Bloomberg said he was "totally incompetent." And he said he considered running for the Democratic presidential nomination but instead opted to use his money and political connections to try to defeat Trump in 2020.
A media strategist who responded to an email PolitiFact sent to Bloomberg Philanthropies about the Facebook post did not directly answer our question of whether Bloomberg made the statement in question.
Rather, she passed along a transcript of Bloomberg’s 2016 speech at the Democratic National Convention. It doesn’t include the statement, but Bloomberg did use the word "con" and "cheat."
"Throughout his career," Bloomberg then said, "Trump has left behind a well-documented record of bankruptcies, thousands of lawsuits, angry shareholders, and contractors who feel cheated, and disillusioned customers who feel ripped off. Trump says he wants to run the nation like he’s run his business. God help us. I’m a New Yorker and New Yorkers know a con when we see one!"
Bill de Blasio, the current mayor of New York City, has more recently called Trump a con. As a candidate in the crowded Democratic presidential race, he’s positioning himself as the person to defeat "Con Don," as he called him on ABC’s Good Morning America.
On June 7, it was widely reported that Bloomberg was donating $500 million to help close all remaining U.S. coal plants.
But we couldn’t find the comment that was credited to Bloomberg in this Facebook post, which was published the same day.
We rate this post False.
Facebook post, June 7, 2019
Politico, "Bloomberg rips Trump: ‘Totally incompetent,’" Jan. 25, 2019
The Associated Press, "Michael Bloomberg to plunge $500M into clean energy effort," June 6, 2019
HuffPost, "Michael Bloomberg will donate $500 million to help close all remaining U.S. coal plants," June 7, 2019
ABC News, "New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announces 2020 presidential bid," May 16, 2019
June 12, 2019 email from Anna Miroff, media strategist, Stu Loeser & Co
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