NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — New presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg traveled to the city that hosts the world’s largest Navy base on Monday and blasted President Donald Trump over the recent ouster of the nation’s Navy secretary.
For the first stop of his Democratic campaign, Bloomberg went to Norfolk, where he criticized Trump over the firing of Richard Spencer. The civilian leader of the Navy said he could not in good conscience follow an order by the president to allow a Navy SEAL accused of war crimes to retire without losing his SEAL status.
“The fact remains: We have a president, a commander in chief, who has no respect for the rule of law, and no concern whatsoever for ethics or honor, or for the values that truly make America great,” Bloomberg told a group of reporters at a downtown hotel.
Virginia is a critical Super Tuesday state that is key to Bloomberg’s campaign strategy of bypassing early states to focus on the crush of states that vote later in the cycle. And the locale offered the billionaire and former mayor of New York City more than just the latest controversy in Washington to promote his platform.
The neighboring city of Virginia Beach suffered a mass shooting on May 31 that killed 12 people at a municipal complex. Bloomberg, 77, said that such shootings have become “almost routine” and that “we have to put an end to this madness.”
Gun control is a hallmark of Bloomberg’s political identity. His group, Everytown for Gun Safety, has pumped more than $6 million into Virginia campaigns alone in recent years to support like-minded Democrats, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.
Democrats retook both chambers in Virginia’s Legislature earlier this month. Bloomberg said it was proof that “with the right candidate, we can turn areas from red to blue.”