Politics

Leon Cooperman, who has been battling Elizabeth Warren, says he will support fellow billionaire Mike Bloomberg for president

Key Points
  • Billionaire Leon Cooperman says he will back former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg for president.
  • "I'm a huge fan of Michael. I know him personally. It's a breath of fresh air. Unless he changes his stripes, he will have my unequivocal support," Cooperman told CNBC on Friday.
  • Cooperman is one of several Wall Street executives who are already preparing to help Bloomberg in anyway they can if he runs for president.
VIDEO3:0003:00
Cooperman: I think Bloomberg can make a big difference

Billionaire Leon Cooperman says he will support former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg if he enters the 2020 Democratic primary for president.

"I'm a huge fan of Michael. I know him personally. It's a breath of fresh air. Unless he changes his stripes, he will have my unequivocal support," Cooperman told CNBC on Friday.

Cooperman, in an extensive phone interview, noted he would help Bloomberg with fundraising, as long he sticks with his moderate policies.

"That's the whole idea," he said when asked about potentially helping with fundraising. "I have a world of respect for his accomplishments and his values. I have to sit down and understand his platform. If the Democratic Party was smart, they would support him." he added.

Bloomberg, 77, has not formally announced his presidential campaign yet.

Cooperman is one of several Wall Street executives who are already preparing to help Bloomberg in anyway they can if he runs for president.

VIDEO3:4403:44
What Wall Street expects from a Bloomberg presidential campaign

A private equity executive, who declined to be named in order to speak frankly about the situation, said he would likely support Bloomberg's campaign as well. This person has contributed to former Vice President Joe Biden's campaign and others in the race, but has not been impressed so far with the overall field.

Cooperman and Bloomberg were both the targets of President Donald Trump on Friday. He nudged the longtime investor, by noting "he's doing very well with Trump."

Later he took on Bloomberg possibly getting into the primary and said he'd relish a chance at facing him in a general election. "He's not going to do well but I think he's going to hurt Biden actually," Trump said of Bloomberg. "There's nobody I'd rather run against than little Michael."

A spokesman for Bloomberg did not return a request for comment.

While Bloomberg has a net worth of just over $52 billion, according to Forbes, and has signaled he would spend more than $100 million on a campaign for president, he will still need donors to qualify for any potential debates. Cooperman has a net worth of $3.2 billion, according to Forbes.

Cooperman, chairman and CEO of Omega Advisors, recently sent a letter to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a potential rival of Bloomberg's. In it, he cited Bloomberg's story of becoming a self-made billionaire as a reason not to criticize the wealthy, as Warren has done since she officially entered the primary in February.

VIDEO12:0112:01
The vilification of billionaires makes no sense to me, says Leon Cooperman

"In 1981, Mike Bloomberg, whose record of public service and philanthropy are legendary, created a machine that changed the way the financial world —a sector that is the source of much of the tax revenues that fuel your legislative priorities — conducts business," Cooperman said to Warren.

"He [Bloomberg] understands how the world works. He's not a hater," Cooperman told CNBC when asked about Warren versus the former New York mayor.

In a tweet after Cooperman announced his support for Bloomberg, Warren said: "The wealthy and well-connected will always have each other's backs. We're building a movement to change that. We're building a movement for big, structural change."

As for fundraising, Cooperman has given to a wide range of candidates over the years. In 2018, he wrote two checks of $2,700 to Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott. He's also contributed to Barack Obama's first campaign for president and later, to Mitt Romney's run for the White House in 2012.

WATCH: Bloomberg takes the air out of Biden, political reporters agree

VIDEO4:0304:03
Bloomberg takes the air out of Biden, political reporters agree